Ask Away...: April 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Deal With Debt And Stop Stressing!

Debt is a seriously bad problem - not necessarily if it is small and manageable, but when payment of debts needs to be organized over a longer time frame - it can be a serious worry. There are already enough things in our lives that can worry us - such as physical and emotional stress, so we don't really need debt on top of this pile. However, the reality is that most people will experience debt of some sort during their lives. Some might say that the financial system is rigged against them, while others say that if you're in debt, then it is your own fault - the truth is somewhere inbetween, debt is simply a part of modern day life.

Now debt can affect us in many ways - which is why it is crucial to extinguish it. Talking financially, debt can ruin our credit rating making it much harder for us to push forward with our lives as we will be turned down for loans and mortgages - meaning financial clout will have to come from our incomes and savings. It can also build easily, ruining your finances as debt collection agents chase high levels of interest that increase debts over time. Debts can also cause a lot of other problems. They can exacerbate mental health conditions and increase our levels of stress or anxiety - making debt a recipe for emotional disaster.
It's easy to lose control with debt thanks to stress and the lack of regulations over spending. That can lead to the situation as unfortunately, stress and anxiety don't often spark any sort of movement to resolve the situation. Debt is a situation that requires you to resolve it. Otherwise, it will get worse.
So if you are in any kind of debt - you need to get a handle on the situation so you can work to resolve it. It will take time and money, but it is not impossible. It's not a black hole that one can't escape from. To pay your debts off, you need to get the information you need - mainly how large your debts are, and the time it would take you to pay them back. Then you need to budget, and budget hard. You'll need to spend a lot less than you earn to ensure you can devote a lot of cash into working for you and paying your debts off. Are there better ways to manage debt? Certainly - you can find info on debt consolidation companies, and you should also call up the companies you are indebted to try and negotiate payments. This might also result in a reduction in the amount of money you have to pay back. Negotiating is always worth it. Attempting to find a payment resolution is something that these companies want from you.

The effects of debt grow and multiply if you ignore them - but it is so easy to run away from our problems. Stand up to debt, deal with it, and you’ll have a lot less to stress about

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"Fatting" Fit? How Fat Can Be Your Friend

The battle against the bulge is something we’ve all got to contend with, and while the information we’re told about weight loss is to cut down on the dreaded “F” word – fats! But, in fact, more information is coming to light about why fat isn’t as bad for you as was once thought. The debates around the diet that we perceive to be healthy might not be as good for you as you think. The gospel of a diet high in carbs with a low amount of fat has been linked to many health epidemics. In the western world, the amount of diabetes and obesity has seen a massive increase over the last 30 years, round about the same time as the low-fat phenomenon was beginning to take shape. The low-fat alternatives to every foodstuff you see on the shelves are loaded with sweeteners and sugar to replace the lack of taste. As the debate on fats gains momentum, let’s have a look at the reasons why we can use fat in our diet to make ourselves healthier, but also to help us lose weight.

Fat Keeps Us Feeling Fuller
Feeding our body with sugar and excessive amounts of carbohydrates increases our hunger. Here comes the science part! There are two hormones related to hunger, leptin and ghrelin. Firstly, ghrelin is a hormone that increases your appetite, and leptin is one that suppresses your appetite. Fat has been shown to increase your leptin hormone, and it won't send a signal to your brain saying that you need to eat something!

Fat Stops Unnecessary Cravings
As a result of feeling fuller for longer, your cravings for lots of processed foods will naturally decrease. When you eat a high dose of carbs, your blood sugar spikes, meaning that your pancreas pumps out insulin, which is the body’s response to high blood sugar. When your pancreas works overtime and eventually gives up on you, this is how you get diabetes. Fat also contains more energy per gram than any other nutrient, which gives you a perfect reason to pick up the butter. Fat also slows the absorption of carbohydrates and good quality fats also contain fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins K, D, A, and E, so you should be eating fat at every meal to make the most of the vegetables you should be consuming!

Fat Helps Us To Lose Weight
There are dieticians out there that are talking about the high-fat diet, but a major piece of information in this whole diet is to limit your carb intake. Fats should ideally make up around 70 to 75% of your daily intake, 15 to 20% should come from protein, and only 5 to 10% should come from carbs. By reducing your carb intake, you will naturally be providing your body with less sugar, which when unused, turns into fat. As fat makes you feel full, you will naturally begin to lose weight, without feeling the horrible hunger cravings that come with a low-calorie, low-fat diet.

Now, while there many people that think the idea of mainly consuming fat is a complete waste of your sophisticated palate, there are ways to get a perfectly balanced diet into the mix. For those that are on a high-fat diet, consuming butter, cheese, cream, and heavy milk can get old fast. But there are ways around it. There are so many people that love their sweet treats for example and satisfying that sugar craving is a big thing to get nailed down, especially when starting a new diet. This is where fat bombs come into play. For many people who have a constant battle with the sugary side of life, the fat bomb has been a little life saver. The high quantities of fat in a typical fat bomb recipe, along with a sneaky sweetness in the form of a dollop of maple syrup or some high-quality dark chocolate helps to remove the desire for lashings of sugar in every dessert. There are many great recipes to find online, and here is one of my personal favorites. If eating little balls of fat isn’t your idea of a great dessert and you are looking for other things, you can make the gradual change from your dessert of choice and make swaps in your ingredients to make the transition less noticeable. You can make an easy chocolate mousse which has cream, eggs, and dark chocolate with a hint of sweetness as ingredients. As you get used to the richness of the dessert, you can reduce the sweetness to the point where you won't notice it as much and enjoy the sumptuous flavors instead!

The trick with eating high-fat, as with any change in your eating habits, is to make the food as appealing as possible to your senses. The way to do this is to mix it up a lot. The high-fat diet can become on the repetitive side, but if you can find ways to mix it up, it will be much more interesting for you. Breakfast can consist of bacon and eggs, and coffee with full-fat cream. Lunch can be a small piece of chicken with vegetables (covered in butter) and then an evening meal can be a piece of steak with some sautéed potatoes and green beans (to get your minimal amount of carbs in). Then the next day can be steak and eggs for breakfast, smoked salmon with home-made hollandaise sauce for lunch and then Mediterranean-style tapas for your evening meal, consisting of olive oil, sundried tomatoes, various cheeses, and meats.

Fish, eggs, and meat are always on the menu and the fattier the cuts, the better. And always go for organic wherever possible, such as grass-fed beef or freshly caught fish from the sea. It can cost a bit more than normal, but with the money, you’d normally be spending on sweet treats you can invest in food that makes you feel fuller for longer and far more satisfied. You will also have so much more energy, and you will find yourself “fatting fit!”

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Natural Help for Anxiety

Natural Help for Anxiety
It's normal to feel anxious from time-to-time, that's just a part of life for most people. Maybe you've lost your job, the kids are struggling in school, you're facing a health crisis, or something else is going on in your life. Whatever it is, reaching for a prescription medication doesn't have to be your first line of defense. Stress and anxiety are normal, everyone goes through ups and downs, but learning how to manage anxiety naturally is an important part of helping to get you back to feeling more like yourself.
Natural Supplements to Help Reduce Anxiety
There are many ingredients found in nature that can be used to help reduce anxiety. For example, lemon balm, hops, and valerian are all natural herbal substances that have been known to have a sedative and calming effect on people. Similarly, L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has also been shown to help reduce anxiety.
The problem with many of these natural remedies is that it can be hard to get enough of the beneficial components in order to produce the desired calming effect. Fortunately, natural supplements, such as RediCalm, can allow you to take a simple capsule and reap the natural anxiety reducing benefits. Many people are now turning to natural supplements in order to find the stress relief they need.
Exercise for Stress Relief
While stress is an inevitable part of life, managing stress with exercise can be very effective. You can't eliminate stress and anxiety altogether, but you can often learn to manage it without medications. With just 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity, you'll not only feel better, but you'll also reduce your level of anxiety. Exercise produces endorphins which not only act as painkillers, but they also help improve sleep which naturally leads to less anxiety and stress.
Breathing Exercises can Help with Anxiety
There are a number of breathing exercises that can be done to help alleviate anxiety. Deep breathing is a fast and effective way to reduce stress because it sends signals to your brain to relax. Breathing exercises help reduce tension, anxiety, and stress.
Find one or two deep breathing exercises and practice them until you are comfortable with how they're done. Then, when you feel anxiety rising, take a moment to calm yourself with these breathing techniques.
Yoga can Help Restore Your Inner Calm
Practicing yoga has long been a common method for reducing stress and anxiety. When you focus your attention on your breathing and body movements, you release tension which leads to a reduction in anxiety.
Diet can Play a Key Role in Reducing Stress and Anxiety
What you eat can significantly impact your level of anxiety. For example, most people are aware of the fact that caffeine and sugar can be stimulants. Clearly, when you're consuming stimulants, it's harder for your body to relax. Similarly, alcohol, fried foods, and even acid forming foods, such as pickles, eggs, and yogurt, can also contribute to an increase in anxiety.
On the other hand, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help reduce anxiety. Additionally, foods rich in magnesium or Omega-3 fatty acids can also be helpful in reducing levels of anxiety.
When you combine a good eating plan with stress relieving exercise and a quality supplement, such as RediCalm, you can reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

Say Farewell to Dry Skin This Spring

As the layers are slowly but surely being peeled off as we head into the glorious spring and summer months many of us can suffer from feelings of self consciousness at this time of the year. As the warmer weather pressures us into revealing more and more of our body for those of us with problematic skin this can come with anxiety and stress.

There are only a handful of us mere mortals that are perfectly content with their skin as the majority of us have some problem areas. One of the most common skin problem is dryness so today we are going to look at ways we can tackle and combat dry skin once and for all so we can boldly face the warmer months with confidence.

Scrub Away Dryness

Exfoliation is essential to work away the dry, dead skin cells on the surface of our skin. In order to keep dryness at bay you must exfoliate regularly to reveal your fresh skin beneath. The market is full to the rafters with exfoliation products for face and body so make sure you choose one that is right for your skin and has been created by dermatologists. Learn more about R & F and such companies that have scientific research backing their products to ensure your skin is getting the best treatment available.

Your Royal Highness- H20

Yes we’ve heard it all time and time again, but never is drinking water more important than in the warmer seasons. And never is it more necessary than for sufferers of dry skin. Drinking a minimum of 2 litres of water a day will keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Water really is a non-negotiable.


Look in Moisture

Many of us get into the routine of drying off before applying moisturizer and this is the first mistake in our beauty regime. To make sure you’re locking in maximum moisture, apply your moisturizer to your body whilst your skin is still damp.

Overnight Care

Our skin does most of its hard work whilst we sleep so it’s only fair that we help it along a little. Try nature's most wonderful natural skin care products; coconut oil and and or olive oil, apply generously to face (avoiding delicate eye area) and problem areas of the body such as knees, elbows and any problematic dry patches and let it work its wonder as you catch up on your beauty sleep.


Don’t Neglect your Feet

Dry and cracked feet can not only be embarrassing but can also be downright painful. Treat yourself to either a professional pedicure or do a home-based treatment to ensure your feet are looking gorgeous and ready to face the world.



Humidifiers are a very effective way to keep your skin plump and nourished. Having a humidifier, particularly in the winter is a great way to replenish the top layer of skin. Zero effort, maximum results just whack it on and feel the hydrating effects get to work.

It can take time to find the exact skin regime that works for you in order to combat dry skin. Don’t be afraid to experiment and play a little until you find the right system that works for you.

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It's A Dog's Life! Make It Happy And Healthy

Being a dog owner can be a lot of fun sometimes. You never quite know what’s going to happen next. But when it comes to dog health, the problems can be especially vexing. The problem is that dogs don’t have any ability to tell us what’s wrong. All that changes when they feel sick is their behaviour, but they never where it hurts.

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The good news is that you don’t have to rush straight to the vets every time your dog starts sulking or acting strangely. Here are some common problems and solutions you can try first.

Your Dog’s Fur Is Entwined With Burs

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Burs, the little spiky seeds that fall off trees can all too easily become embedded in dog fur. This can cause your dog pain, especially if the bur is still sharp. To remove it, simply dab some vegetable oil onto the affected area and try to gently pry them loose. After the burs are removed, you can shampoo the dog to remove excess oil.

Curb Chewing

Dogs love to chew. It gives them comfort. However, chewing too often can lead to all sorts of problems, especially if it means chewing up your beautiful new sofa set. The best way to stop dogs from chewing a particular object is to coat it with something that smells bad. Try dabbing it with a small amount of Bengay. The smell should be enough to put the dog off.

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If that doesn’t work, you can also try using white wine vinegar. Just put the white wine vinegar into a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water and then spray over all the furniture that you don’t want your pooch to chew.

Prevent Fleas

At some point in their lives, most dogs suffer from fleas - little creatures which cause itching and loss of condition in their coat. Fleas can be picked up from anywhere, whether it’s at the park or from their interactions with other dogs. As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Long-term use products provide the best flea and tick prevention for dogs. These are products that you apply at regular intervals to stop fleas from becoming established, keeping your dog’s coat healthy and glossy.

Help Heal Cuts And Scrapes

Dogs, like children, have a habit of injuring themselves. And while a dog won’t complain like a human child, making sure the injury is cleaned out and bandaged up is still essential to prevent infection. A good solution to things like scratches, cuts and skin irritations is to rub on Bag Balm, something which is used in the dairy industry.

Reduce Arthritic Aches And Pains

Dogs age about seven times faster than people. As a result, they’re prone to the same conditions of old age as we are, like arthritis. To soothe arthritis, heat up some uncooked rice in the microwave and then pour it into a sock. Tie a knot in the end of the sock and then place it on the part that hurt for 15 minutes per day.

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Outfit of the Day: Spring Colors

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I looooove pretty Spring colors so of course I had to integrate them into my wardrobe now that weather is finally officially SPRINGY!

And I still love wearing my LuLaRoe Carly dresses knotted up.  It's nice and flowy and comfy but it doesn't get too hot.  I'm going to wear these up until the weather gets too hot and/or humid.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017


Today's outfit of the day post is also a very informative post.   Yesterday, I attended my first ever rally.  It was in Harrisburg and it was for the decriminalization of Marijuana.   I have been a member of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition for some time now.   It was way out of my comfort zone because I normally hate being in big groups or in front of everyone.  But I stood on the steps in the Capitol Rotunda and I held my sign proudly.   

Why? Because we are getting tired of people getting put into dangerous prisons for harmless crimes.   We are sick of the never ending stigma that goes with Marijuana.   There is money to be made, jobs to be created, people to be healed, and life to be enjoyed.   We are tired of it. 

We demand change and we won't stop till we get it. So today, I urge you to take a stand. Contact your local legislators ESPECIALLY if you live in Pennsylvania and let them know that you want them to work on the decriminalization of Marijuana.  Last year we got Medical Marijuana through, and more recently an industrial hemp bill!   Next step is decriminalization and eventually we hope for full legalization! 


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Financial Planning That Makes Cents

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Being good with money isn’t about how much you earn but how well you manage your finances.  You might be able to make money but unless you know how to look after money you will only ever have part of the puzzle.

Here are 10 simple steps towards becoming a financial wizard, whatever your income.

  1. You can’t even begin to get your finances under control unless you have a budget. This is common sense but you actually have to stick to it for it to make a difference. Review it regularly because things do and will change.
  2. Include a contingency for the unexpected. This isn’t just about insurance for a burst pipe or car accident, this is an emergency fund for those things even insurance companies can’t predict. Include this fund in your budget.
  3. Avoid debt.  Don’t be tempted to buy things on credit, take out credit cards or a loan to pay for things you can’t afford. Debt can snowball and before you know it your income doesn’t cover your outgoings.
  4. But if you are in debt already make a plan to get out of it. Work with your lenders to reduce your balance month by month towards debt freedom.
  5. Transfer your balance. If your credit card interest rate has just gone through the roof don’t just accept it, shop around and find the best deal and then transfer the balance. Even if your interest rates stay the same it’s worth knowing whether you could get a better deal elsewhere.
  6. Pay of credit card balances in full every month, it could save you hundreds in interest rates.
  7. Keep your credit score in good shape. If you avoid debt, take action with the debt you have and regularly monitor your credit score you will be taking very good care of your credit rating.  If your credit rating does need repairing make it your priority to do so. You can check out online reviews of the best credit repair companies of 2017 and work with them to get that score back to good health.
  8. Don’t be afraid to use coupons, special offers or sales as a way of reducing your outgoings.  No matter how much money you earn getting money off items is good news.  Yes they may take a little coordination but it will reflect in your growing bank balance so is well worth the effort.
  9. Invest in your future. Don’t just spend money for today make sure you include any contributions towards pensions and investments in your budget.
  10. Put your finances on automatic.  Direct debit make managing money much more simple as you can set up payments for all your bills and then sit back and not worry about them.  Make sure you know how much and when they are coming out to avoid unnecessary bank charges.

This might not sound as complicated as algebraic math but it really is that simple to be a financial genius.  Be organized, honest and forward thinking and your finances will suddenly start making a lot more cents.

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5 Tips to Win Your Yearly Battle Against Allergies

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #ForgetAllergies #CollectiveBias

It never fails - every year just when I think I'm doing great in all aspects of life - BAM! Allergy season attacks me in full force. I don’t know about you but when I am bothered by allergies it’s like my whole life is derailed because my symptoms completely take over.  My eyes water constantly, my throat gets itchy, and I probably sneeze 100 times a day.   Oh, and then there's the non-stop blowing of my nose which results in it getting all red and irritated.  I don't know about you but my life is so busy that I can't just put everything on hold to deal with my allergies. I mean I have a full time job, a blog to run, dinners to cook, a house to clean, and plenty more responsibilities.  I have to keep going and keep moving forward.  So here are 5 tips that I use (and you should too) to successfully win the yearly battle against allergies, including using Xyzal® Allergy 24HR.

*Tip 1* Recognize Allergy Triggers
Allergies can be caused by different things.  For some people it's pollen, but for others it could be something like mold.  I'm kind of a combination of those two things.  So I know that a few days of rain is a good time for me to avoid going outdoors since that's when the mold seems to be at its worst.   If pollen is your worst enemy, then try to avoid the outdoors when the pollen count is high and beware of windy days.  Seriously, have you ever stood outside on a windy day and watched the pollen just blow around in the air?  Scary!

*Tip 2* Keep a Clean Home
Just because your allergies may be caused by an outdoor trigger doesn't mean the triggers can't be brought indoors.  During allergy season it's crucial to keep your home as tidy as possible.  Pollen and mold can actually be tracked into your home from your clothing, the breeze when you open the door, and your shoes.  So make sure you vacuum on a regular basis, dust all the surfaces of your home, and keep counters clean and wiped down.   Bonus points if you have hardwood floors since they are easier to clean than carpets in most cases.  There's nowhere for the allergens to hide!

*Tip 3* Keep A Clean Workplace
This is especially important if you work in an office because, once again, you and others around you are tracking allergens in on your clothing and shoes.  Make sure you dust your desk and any shelves you have.  I also give my desk a scrub down with disinfectant wipes once a week.

*Tip 4* Keep A Clean Car
I sound like a broken record but your car is a huge trap for allergens.  If you know your allergies are acting up, keep your windows closed when you drive.  Make sure you regularly wipe down (dust and scrub) the dash of your car as that's a HUGE culprit of collecting dust and allergens.  I also vacuum the seats and carpet in my vehicle since I know that I'm constantly bringing allergens in from the outdoors.

*Tip 5* Use the Right OTC Allergy Treatment
This is one of my most important tips because this tip has been my saving grace.  It's important to use the right OTC allergy treatment and that's why I highly recommend Xyzal® Allergy 24HR.  It gives me 24 hour relief from all my annoying symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and itchy throat! It even helps my watery eyes so I don't look like I'm crying all day!  The best part is that it's full prescription strength and it's now available over the counter at CVS.  It comes in 10 count as well as 35, 55, and 80 counts.

Xyzal has really improved my day to day life.  I can go to work and focus on what I have to get done instead of constantly sneezing and trying to get my nose to stop running.  I even sleep better at night not having to deal with my allergy symptoms when I'm trying to drift off to dreamland.  And when I wake up I'm still ready to take on the day.

Xyzal is an antihistamine product designed to provide continuous all night, all day allergy relief and is as effective at hour 24 as it is the first hour you take it.   Speaking of hours, it starts working in 60 minutes!   Continuously taking it once a day, right before bedtime, means that Xyzal is relieving symptoms while I sleep.  I love that it's conveniently found at CVS so I can get in when I'm there running errands to pick up groceries!

Xyzal gives better symptom relief when taken continuously and it relieves indoor AND outdoor allergy symptoms.  Make sure you read and follow Xyzal product labeling and use it as directed!

You can find Xyzal 10 count in the allergy section of CVS.

So, which of these tips are you most looking forward to trying in order to take back your life during allergy season?

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