Ask Away...: May 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Is Your Home Putting Your Health At Risk?

Blue and Gray Concrete House With Attic during Twilight
For the vast majority of people, their home is the place where they want to feel safe and secure. The world is often so filled with pressures and difficulties that it's pretty understandable that all they really want is the chance to sit back, relax, and escape all of that for a while. Which only makes it more upset when that comfort and safety is disrupted in some way. Sometimes that disruption comes from something obvious like an accident or a home invasion, but sometimes a problem with your home can sneak up on you. It may well have been doing you some harm without you ever even realizing. With that in mind, here are some ways that your home can potentially put your health at risk if you're not careful.
Damp is one of those things that surprisingly common when it comes to a lot of people's health. Not only that but a lot of people tend not even to notice it until it's become very serious. The problem there is that, not only is it going to be much more difficult to deal with, but it could have been already putting you in danger for some time by then. Not only can damp damage the structure of your home, making the chances of a structural accident or collapse much more likely, but it can also cause the spread of mold spores. Recent data has shown that mold has been linked to allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Not only that but damp can cause a strong spread of bacteria which can put you and your family's health in genuine danger.
Asbestos is one of those things that most people are aware of, but many of them assume that they no longer have to think about all that much. This is because homes and buildings no longer use asbestos in their construction. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't still plenty of buildings that still have asbestos in the walls. If you're living in a particularly old house, then you could well be at serious risk. Check out for information about the impact that asbestos can have on your health. If you're unsure whether or not there is asbestos in your home, then there are plenty of companies that you can contact who will come and check it out, as well as remove it, for you.
No one likes an uninvited guest. Not to mention dozens, or even hundreds, of uninvited guests in the forms of insects or other pests. Everything from dust mites to rats can have serious ramifications for your health and the health of anyone else living in your home. For one this, pests often spread bacteria and increase your risk of getting sick, but they can also cause things like asthma attacks, skin problems, and other more serious problems. If you have a pest problem, then you should contact an exterminator immediately. You may be able to deal with the problem humanely, but if it's really serious, then eradication may be the only course of action available.

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Outfit of the Day: Pretty for Date Night

This outfit is actually from last month's date night but I have to say it was so beautiful and it made me feel super sexy!

This is the LuLaRoe Julia Dress. I can wear a size large but I like to size up to an XL because it gives more fabric around my midsection.  

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for Another

When you’re a caregiver, whether you’re looking after a child, a spouse or an elderly parent, it’s tough. Most of your time will be taken up with caring for the needs of another, and although you’re happy to be doing this for them, it can be draining emotionally and physically. Because caring for another person is so hard, it’s important that you take care of yourself too. After all, if you aren’t healthy, how can you carry out your caring duties?
Here are some of the things that other carers have found useful for looking after themselves:
Relieve Stress
Stress is probably the most common problem experienced by caregivers, so it is absolutely vital that you do what you can to de-stress after a tough day looking after a loved one. Many carers have found that activities like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are particularly helpful, but if you like reading books, playing chess, knitting or socializing with friends more, they will serve you just as well.
Maintain Your Other Relationships
As a caring person, it’s only natural that you will want to dedicate the bulk of your time to the person you are caring for, and in fact, it might be necessary to do so, but you should also take the time to maintain your other relationships with friends and family. Many carers become isolated because they don’t do this and this can lead to them feeling trapped and lonely. If you want to avoid this, schedule regular appointments with friend and family who will listen, laugh and have fun with you. If necessary, you can hire a professional nurse or carer from a company like spectrum healthcare to take over your duties for a little while, so that you can get out and be sociable with friends, let your hair down and feel more like yourself again.
Maintain a Healthy Body
When most of your day is taken up with caring tasks, it’s only natural that you would want to put your feet up and relax with a cup of coffee and a few cookies whenever you get a spare moment, but it’s vital that you schedule some time for exercise and cooking a healthy meal each and every day.
Caregiving can be tough, physical work, so you need to keep your body healthy if you are to get through the day free from aches, pains, and exhaustion. Eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising for 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just going for a walk, will help you with this.
Do Something That Makes You Happy
Remember that you are not just a career – you are a human being with needs and interests in your own right, and this means that you deserve to be happy. Make time to do the things you love, whether that’s listening to loud rock music, hiking or doing a simple jigsaw puzzle. Whatever they might be and you’ll be better able to cope with the stresses and strains of caring.
Are you a caregiver? What do you do to ensure that you take care of yourself each day?

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Staying Hydrated with VOSS + A Giveaway

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 So one of the major things I've been working on now that I'm keeping active and eating more nutritiously is staying hydrated. But I have the same problem as everyone else.... water is boring to me.  And now that it's summer it's even more important that I stay hydrated. So I've been trying to mix things up and keep it interesting which is why I'm totally loving VOSS Limt Mint.  That's right - there's an actual new flavor of VOSS Water that joins their Lemon Cucumber and Tangerine Lemongrass flavors.  

Sparkling water is a favorite to so many people taht are looking for healthier alternatives to sweetened, high calorie drinks so it's no wonder VOSS knows what they are doing!   Plus, you can actually use VOSS as a mixer for fun mocktails and coctails.   Actually here's a recipe you can try with OR without alcohol.

1/2 cup VOSS Lime Mint Sparkling Water
1 cup seedless watermelon chunks
1 small wedge for garnish
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 lime slice for garnish
2 mint leaves
1 mint leaf for garnish
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1/4 cup preferred tequila
Combine VOSS, watermelon, lime juice, mint leaves, and agave nectar in blender on high until frothy.   Fill a highball glass with ice and add tequila.  Pour watermelon mixture over the top and stire.
Garnish with watermelon, lime, and mint leaf.


There are plenty of fun ways to get creative.  I have even tossed some fruit slices into my VOSS water and enjoyed the fruity aftertaste. 

And one lucky winner will receive a case of VOSS LIME MINT to enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, May 29, 2017

The Ultimate Home Gym Equipment Guide

So you have decided that you are sick of having to drag yourself down to the gym every couple of days to workout but you don’t want to let your fitness levels hit rock bottom? Creating your very own home gym may well be the ideal solution. Once you have chosen your space, you will then need to set about selecting the equipment you need. This will all depend on which areas of your fitness that you want to focus on, so let’s go through each one in turn and some of the equipment that you can invest in.


At the upper end of the scale, a treadmill or stationary bike will give you a good workout all the year round. Another option is a rowing machine which also has the added benefits of helping to build and tone muscles, improve endurance and enhance your cardiovascular functioning. Less expensive is a punching bag which can give you a great full-body cardio workout. If you don’t have a big budget at all, even a skipping rope is a good option which also has the natural advantage of taking up next to no space in storage!


Pretty much every home gym should including a set of dumbbells, and if you get the adjustable kind then you have the ultimate versatility. Choosing a dumbbell workout shouldn’t be hard with so much advice available online. If you are a real free weight fanatic, a weight-lifting bench will also probably be pretty high on your wishlist. Alternatively, if you prefer a workout that is free of machines then there is plenty that you can do with a medicine ball. Another affordable option is a pull up bar which you can put in the doorway of your home giving you an incentive to do some every time you walk through.


It is fairly simple to start building up your flexibility without the need to invest in any overly expensive equipment. The item at the top of your list should be an exercise mat that gives you a good surface for any yoga, ab workouts, core strength building or stretching that you would like to build into your workout routine. If you are going to be working out on a hardwood floor, try to choose one that has a bit of extra thickness. Another must-have item in terms of flexibility is a foam roller which helps to smooth out any knots or tight muscles that you may be suffering from.


We have already talked about the usefulness of an exercise mat when it comes to doing core strength workouts, but an ab wheel is another piece of equipment that is very useful in this area. Remember to take your time and not rush into a complex routing too quickly or you may not be able to move the next day! Elliptical trainers are also a nice piece of equipment that don’t take up a great deal of space and get you to engage your core.


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Books I Recommend You Read [May]

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 Another month, and more books. Plus we are getting into the nicer weather so there's no excuse NOT to head outside and read a good book. So check out the ones I've read recently.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
This was an amazing book about a sexual assault that takes place at a party.   The main character has a new love interest but she can't seem to pin point where he was the night of the party when a fellow classmate was raped.   It's heartbreaking and honest.  A MUST READ!!

The Big Love by Sarah Dunn
This was a Sex and The City style read that basically explores the reality of relationships and when infidelity occurs.   It was comical and witty but also had a serious edge.  A nice, easy read.

Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
This was a great read, rather long but I loved the real life references. it's basically about a kid that becomes famous for saving his school from another guy, who has some serious mental health issues.  Intertwined in the whole saga are the everyday dealing of high schoolers to drugs and sex.  

Startup by Doree Shafrir
This is a nice easy read about a few employees of a start up tech company and the scandal that comes in the industry.   One's trying to spread the word of an inappropriate relationship while another is trying to cover it up.  This was an entertaining read that gave me a peek of what it can be like to work in that industry.

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn
This is one of those amazing feel good novels.   I loved it! It reminded me a lot of a Sex and the City type plot (which is funny because I've totally said that about her last book) where it's a mishmash of a few people and the decisions they make and how some of them intersect. It's also a nice little novel that features happy/unhappy/and scandalous relationships.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

This is by far one of my favorite books ever and I sure hope they make it into a movie. It reminds me very much of Gone Girl and the twists and turns that don't stop until the very very end.   It's basically about 3 people.   A husband and wife and their friend.  The wife goes missing then turns up dead. The husband and friend fall in love.  But something's not as it seems and to understand what's really going on they have to figure out who they want to trust. 

The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell
This was an awesome read! It's about 4 women that are young and married and the crap they are dealing with.  It covers everything from marrying an older man, dealing with a husband's secrets, and keeping secrets of your own. A very lighthearted read!

Setting Free The Kites by Alex George 
This book was amazing.   I felt like I was watching it all in a movie as I read.   It's about 2 boys in Middle School in the 70's and how they form a bond.   One of them loses someone in the family first, and in a couple of years the other one loses someone.   They definitely share that in common.   There are some ups and downs during their friendship and even extreme tragedy.   I found it hard to put this book down.   I never wanted it to end.   Bravo to Alex George! What an amazing book!

Always by Sarah Jio
This was a sweet and easy read about a woman who happens upon her ex-boyfriend aka the love of her life on the street as a homeless man.  While she's currently engaged, she has to decide how to help her ex and decide if she wants to continue with her engagement.     

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Outfit of the Day: Feather Obsession

I realized I have a thing for feathers. I mean seriously, I have more feather patterned tops and bottoms than any other pattern in my wardrobe. I love these because they are earthy colors.   The feathers on these leggings are very subtle.

It was a damp and rainy day when I took these photos so I had a layered look. I wore a mustard Classic T and a Sarah Cardigan.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pet Problems: You Need To Understand These Challenges Of A New Addition To Your Family

Orange Tabby Cat Beside Fawn Short-coated Puppy

For a lot of people, no home is complete without the addition of a pet. Not everyone is going to have the same taste in pets, but it's definitely understandable why so many people really love bringing a new addition into their homes. Pets bring a sense of companionship and love; help kids become more responsible, and they often bring families closer together. Of course, the biggest mistake that you can make when you're thinking of bringing a pet into your home is to assume that it's going to be all sunshine and rainbows all of the time. It's surprising just how often so many people tend to forget about the sheer amount of hard work that goes into having any pet, especially a family pet like a dog or a cat. Here are some of the challenges you need to be aware of when it comes to bringing a new pet into the home.

Leaving them alone

A pet is a serious commitment. If you're not fully aware of that fact, then you're simply not in a position to bring one into your home in the first place. It's not just a matter of training, feeding and caring for a pet. You've got to be aware of the impact it will have on your entire routine. If you decide to get a dog then leaving them on their own may become a serious issue. Many dogs find being left alone very upsetting and even those that don't often find themselves becoming bored. Dogs that are left alone to get bored can run riot in your home, often chewing everything they can get their hands on. You should try and find some toys for them to chew on, preferably pretty sturdy ones unless you fancy buying a new one every two days. Plenty of companies claim to have indestructible toys, but companies like Tuftoys are confident enough that they will invite you to "try our durable dog toys here" so that you can see for yourself! Of course, if you don't want to deal with that, you could always choose a more independent pet like a cat.

Existing pets

If there's one thing that a lot of people fail to consider, it's the impact that a new addition can have on any existing pets in your house. You might previously have thought that your pets were incredibly relaxed and happy meeting other animals, but that wasn't on their home turf. A lot of the time animals can be much more aggressive when another pet arrives in what they consider to be their territory. The same goes for the new pet. You need to make sure that any animal that you're bringing home is comfortable around other animals in the first place, but is also happy being around your pet specifically. The best thing to do is to have them meet in a neutral environment first a few times so that they can get used to each other. After that, you can start introducing the new pet to your home. Only when you're totally sure that they will both be happy should you fully commit. It might seem like a lot of work, but if you're not careful, both animals could end up incredibly unhappy.

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What You Need to Do When Selling a Property

If you are selling your home, you want to give yourself the best chance of a quick sale at the asking price. You also want to make sure that there is minimal hassle along the way. We have some top tips to help you out.


  • Put personal items away - The first thing you need to do is get rid of all personal items. Of course, you don’t need to throw them away, but make sure that they are out of sight. If the viewer sees family photographs splattered across the house, they will struggle to imagine it as their home.
  • Make small rooms appear bigger - If you have any rooms that are particularly small, there are different tricks you can use to make them appear bigger. For example, in a living room or bedroom, place a large mirror on the wall, as this will open up the space, making it look larger and more welcoming. Here are some great bathroom space saving tips.
  • Give your garden some TLC - Your garden is often the first thing people see when they approach your house. First impressions count, so make sure your garden is neat and tidy.
  • Get the professionals in - A professional deep-clean is money well spent. This will include all areas, including underneath the sofa, shower doors, and your oven. It will make a massive difference, breathing life into your home, and it is often a lot cheaper than people realise.
  • De-clutter - Don’t wait until the day you move out until you have a big clear-out; do it before you welcome your first viewer. Nothing looks worse than clutter!


  • Get pre-approved for your new mortgage - Don’t dive right in without knowing how much you can afford to spend on your new home, if you are indeed buying another property. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is especially important if there have been changes to your financial situation.
  • Revisit your will - Selling a property may mean that you need to revisit your will, especially if this is not the only property you own. This is where estate planning services come in handy. You can ensure that your will is constructed properly and that everything is divided how you want it to be.
  • Try to coordinate closing dates - You could have a nightmare on your hands if you do not attempt to coordinate closing dates. It is advisable to choose a long closing, for instance, 60 days or more. This will give you enough time to move into somewhere new.
  • Re-direct your mail - Last but not least, it is important to re-direct your mail from your old property to your new one. You don’t want your buyers to get their hands on information such as your banking details. A re-direction service will give you enough time to officially change your address everywhere.

So there you have it; everything you need to do when selling your home, from getting the property ready for viewers to ensuring your mail comes to the right place!

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