Ask Away...: June 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Outfit of the Day: Floral Dress

I love dresses in the summer mainly because it's too darn hot to wear pants.   The LuLaRoe Carly (shown here in a small) is a high-low dress that is nice and flowy at the bottom with short sleeves at the top.  It's perfect for a hot summer day.

And when it comes to dresses, you can never go wrong with floral print.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Guilt-Free Taco Seasoning Recipe

I love taco nights but the one thing that puts a tamper on them is the amount of salt that comes in a packet of taco seasoning.   So I decided to make my own. 

Here's how to make it.

1/4 Cup plus 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 1/4 tsp Garlic Power
1 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
2 1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients in mason jar, seal and shake. Use 2 Tbsp per pound of meat.

You'll notice you don't feel so guilty and bloated afterwards because there's NO SALT!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Four Simple Strategies That Can Make You A Healthier Person

Four Simple Strategies That Can Make You A Healthier Person

In today's world, millions of people around the world are realizing that we're in a health crisis. The rise of diseases such as diabetes as well as the obesity epidemic are two proofs for the fact that many people are not leading lives conducive to mental and physical wellness. Despite this unpleasant truth, individuals who are interested in improving the quality of their lives can do so. Below you'll find just four of many simple strategies you can deploy right now to start optimizing your health:

1. Shop For Health Products Via Internet.

One of the many reasons that people fail to get healthy is because they feel that doing so is too time-consuming. If this is one of your excuses for letting your health fall by the wayside, it's time for you to tap into the power of shopping for health products via internet. This technique is effective because it will preclude you from having to drive to a physical store, stand in long check-out lines, and deal with overly pushy salespeople. These days, there are thousands of online retailers who sell a wide range of health products, including supplements. Visit an online store such as LifeStyle Markets to learn about supplements such as the Natural Factors Wild Pacific Salmon Oil.

2. Develop A Meditation Practice.

In addition to shopping for health products via internet, make sure that you develop a meditation practice. This technique is important because meditation can lead to a wide range of life-giving health benefits that help people feel and look their best. For example, regular meditation can minimize the negative self-talk that compromises self-esteem. Some of the other great benefits of daily meditation include lowered blood pressure, better sleep, and enhanced cognitive function.

Note that you can meditate at any time of day that you find advantageous or convenient. For example, many people like to meditate right before they go to bed because they find that doing so helps them fall asleep faster. On the other hand, some people like to meditate as soon as they wake up so they can set the tone of the day by getting in a peaceful or "centered" mood.

3. Join Your Local Gym.

As many health experts know, the majority of Americans don't attain the level of exercise necessary to promote holistic health. Yet you should. Exercise offers people a wide range of incredible health benefits, including weight management, increased flexibility, and faster cellular renewal. Most people lack the level of internal motivation necessary to keep up a fitness routine, and this is why joining the local gym is generally a good idea for people who are trying to remain committed to the active lifestyle. Within the gym setting, you'll attain ongoing encouragement and motivation from both the gym staff and members. Also note that many gyms now offer a wide range of group fitness classes, some of which may include yoga, pilates, tae-bo, zumba, and step aerobics.

4. Create Healthy Eating Habits.

Another wonderful health strategy you can implement to optimize your mental and physical well-being is eating well. This technique is empowering because it will help ensure that your body is attaining all of the nutrients it needs to perform the regulatory functions that keep you active and alive. Luckily, there are hundreds of strategies you can implement to start eating well now. One of them is cleaning out your pantry. This step is immensely powerful because studies show that people are most likely to eat whatever is in the immediate vicinity. Thus if your cupboards are filled with sugary cereals and fat-laden products, you're setting yourself up for failure. Get on the success bandwagon by loading your refrigerator up with fruits and vegetables and removing processed goods that will make you gain weight and feel lethargic. 

Start Getting Healthy Now!

If you're ready to get healthy in 2017, don't delay the process. Instead, get started right now by implementing some or all of the wellness strategies outlined above!

For True Beauty, Take Things Slowly

Let's face it - if you want to achieve perfection in your looks and beauty, you're going to have to work hard for it. There are no secrets, nor shortcuts that are going to work. Even cosmetic surgery takes a long time! Rushing through steps in the path towards perfection can be extremely harmful and is something that should be avoided at all costs. Taking dodgy shortcuts to enhance your beauty can have dire consequences, and ruin your natural beauty (which is something we all have, without exceptions), but it can also come with some horrific setbacks to not just your looks, but also your health.
There's a lot to be said for doing things the right way with health and beauty. The longer path is certainly more rewarding, and you can certainly take a lot of pride and confidence in knowing that you did things the right way and got the results you craved in a healthy manner. The longer path also ensures that you're in safe and responsible hands - if not yours, then a trained professional at the very least. Taking things slowly means you can plan, train, eat and live life properly. If you choose to achieve your beauty goals in a slow, steady and responsible manner, you'll be all the better for it, in more ways than just one. Choosing the slow path can ensure you're setup with lifestyle changes and choices that can lead to a fruitful and beneficial life. Learning how to exercise, eat and look after your body is something we could all do, and these changes last for a lifetime.

Firstly, cosmetic surgery isn’t something we should automatically avoid. Bad cosmetic surgery is quick, easy - but painful and complicated. For the best results, you need to deal with a premier plastic surgeon who will take their time with multiple consultations to ensure you get the results you want, but also be willing to say no if your health is at risk. If your results can only be attained with plastic surgery, take your time, do your research and consider it. Don’t rush into a decision, as it might be something that ruins your life.

Tanning is a beauty habit for those with fair-skin, however tanning irresponsibility is a danger. Tanning with sun-lotion or sun cream leaves us in exposure to intense UV rays from the sun. It certainly might take longer to tan with suncream, but even the slightest gap in protection can lead to the development of cancerous pigments. Take sun-care seriously, and think twice about tanning.

Eating is something we need to consider. Eating mindfully and conservatively is great, but starving yourself to achieve a slimmer waist can come with severe consequences. Malnutrition, digestive issues, mental disorders and anaemia are some of the issues that can stem from starvation. You need to eat, no matter what.

Shortcuts don’t work out in beauty, so don’t take them. Take the slow road, the high road to a healthy beautiful existence without any issues!

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Leaking Energy Means Leaking Money


Trying to save money on our energy bills is a battle we all have. Life is expensive enough without having to leak even more money because we’re leaking unnecessary energy. But the big problem with knowing how to solve this issue is where do you start and how do you know what the actual benefits are?

Well, to help you solve this problem, we have come up with a few ways that can help you understand exactly what you are getting back from those sometimes big outlays, all of which will help you save money more efficiently. Enjoy.


Seal Leaks
One of the easiest and most effective ways to save yourself over ten percent on your heating bill is to seal up all those cracks and gaps you are forever ignoring. For less than $50 bucks, you can pick up all the materials you need for weatherstripping and caulking and by the end of the year you could have saved up to $190. Sure, it has a payback time of a year, but after that, it will keep on giving.

Heating System
There are hundreds of little things that can start going wrong with heating systems over the years, from flickering pilot lights to loose fan belts, all of which can heap the cash onto your heating bill, as Home Comfort Owner Ken Starr will tell you. That is why it is so important to schedule a maintenance check in the autumn because a tune-up once a year can reduce your bills by up to 10-12%. That’s a significant amount. In fact, you’ll be paid back in one winter.


Attic Needs
Attics are horrendous when it comes to leaking warmth. The reason being hot air rises and attics have gaps. So, all that money and effort you spend on trying to keep your home warm is almost pointless. That’s why it is recommended that you go and splash a few hundred dollars on some insulation to your attic, and your basement while you’re at it. Voila, within three to four years your investment will have paid itself off and you’ll get to enjoy utility bills that are 30% cheaper than normal.

Cheap Showers
We all love showering. It is part of most morning rituals and that thing people can’t operate without, alongside coffee. However, heating water accounts for about 12% of our utility bills, even more, if you’re water heater is old. To counter this, it is worth screwing on your future-thinking head by investing in an energy-efficient water heater. Yes, it will set you back around $700, but this will be paid off in a couple of years and every shower thereafter will cost your 20% less (which means you can enjoy showering for 20% longer).

Sell Up
Your other option, albeit on the more drastic end of the scale, is to sell your house to the right people and move into a new home that has been certified by Energy Star. New homes under this bell curve use over 30% less energy than older homes, which is because they have improved materials, better insulation, higher-performance windows and have to meet much stricter building standards. In terms of payback time, though, well, you’ll be reaping the rewards of lower costs from the moment you collect the keys.

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Rocky's 13th Birthday Celebration

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That's right! My little man is 13!!!!!!!!!  I can't believe it. He certainly doesn't act like it!

So in my usual style I got him some gifts that included treats and snacks and a toy.  He also was spoiled ALL DAY. So much so that it made the other dogs pretty darn jealous.

Normally I don't buy new toys since my pups have plenty but since I got Rocky when he was already 8 I have to make up for all the years prior. So he gets spoiled with a new toy.  He couldn't put this one down!

For his birthday meal he indulged in a new food!

American Journey which I purchased from Chewy, is a grain-free food packed with protein to give dogs energy that lasts. It was a big hit with all my dogs, especially Rocky.

The kibble is the perfect size for their little mouths.  The chicken is packed with protein and amino acids that build leaner muscles and pack delicious flabor.  This food also contains fuits and veggies that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that every dog can thrive from.  I also love that American Journey is made in the USA. You can only get it at Chewy!

Next birthday is Grace in August followed by Pixie a week later so I'll be sure to share their Birthdays on here!

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Outfit of the Day: Bright Sunshiney Day

Some people don't like wearing the color yellow but I absolutely adore it! I'm lucky it goes alright with my skin tone, I guess.

I am wearing a LuLaRoe Perfect T with OS Leggings (Adorable design!) and some casual Keds sneakers!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

4 Straightforward Money Saving Tips For Car Owners

Driving is a wonderful, liberating thing, but it’s also undeniably expensive - especially if you fall into bad habits. If you’re fed up of money vanishing out of your purse with no exact idea of where it’s going, then let’s get down to examining the cost-cutting methods that all drivers can benefit from. So without further ado, as the title says, here are a few solutions to cut the cost of car ownership right down.

1) Don’t accept your insurance renewal quote.

It feels like this is the kind of thing that you shouldn’t need to say but… it still happens. Mostly for the sake of ease; people get the renewal and think they’ll just let it go. It’s so easy to compare for different quotes and ensure you’re being offered a fair price, so give it 10 minutes online and cut the cost - potentially substantially - with just a few clicks.

2) Wash The Car Yourself

Sure, good car detailing and the occasional wash is nice - but it’s an extra expense that you don’t need to sustain. It’s far more affordable to invest in your own equipment that allows you to do a professional-quality job for yourself. You could put aside the money you would have spent paying others to wash your car, read an electric pressure washer review to ensure you know what you’re getting, and then go and use that saved cash to buy the equipment you need. It’ll save you a fortune in the long run, plus an electric pressure washer will be far friendlier to your car’s paint job than the mechanical brushes of most carwashes.

3) Drive Economically

Basically, start to see the brake as a lever that shoots money from it every time you depress it. When you press the brake, you kill the kinetic energy in your car, meaning that you have to spend more using the gas to get it going again. Wherever possible, don’t brake; instead, take your foot off the gas and use kinetic energy to gradual drift to a stop. This is best used as you approach signals and queues, as these give you plenty of warning so you can slow gradually.

4) Go Gentle

If you’re in the habit of hammering either pedal, you can quickly suffer problems when it comes to getting the best cost per gallon from your car. Be as gentle as possible with the gas, taking advantage of any slopes in the road to help you along if possible. It’s also a good idea to avoid using cruise control unless you can avoid it, as this means you lose control of how much gas is being used. Stick to it for long drives only, when you need it to help avoid an aching foot.

So while car ownership can be expensive, a quick trim and a few changes and you could literally save hundreds of dollars per year. Why not use that saving on gas money and go on the road trip of a lifetime? You and your car have earned it!

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Fuel Economy Saves Gas Money

The price of gas continues to climb while your income and dependency on your car stays the same. While finding ways to boost your income is never a bad idea, there are also ways you save money on your car and gas expenses, none of which involves carpooling or cycling to work.
Figure out your fuel economy
To work out how much you could improve your fuel economy, you need to know where it currently stands. This first step might be expensive, but you need to fill up the tank to the point where the pump cuts off. Make a note of the number of litres or gallons you put in, and the trip counter reading. Divide one by the other and you get either miles per gallon (mpg) or km per litre. Zero the trip counter again and keep a note of the mpg calculation. Once you’ve done this about five times, you can start to figure out your running average using an online mileage tracker. From this point, you can see how your mileage improves once you implement these gas-saving measures.
Lose some weight
A car with excessive luggage will add aerodynamic drag to your car. More drag means more power to overcome it, which means worse mpg. Unless you’re taking the whole family on a road trip, travel light whenever you can. Losing just 100 pounds of dead weight in the car can improve fuel economy by up to two percent.
Change your oil
You might be very good about changing your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but are you using the best oil for you car. Switching to synthetic oil will help you achieve greater gas mileage because 5w-20 oil is slicker than conventional oil, and therefore allow for smoother, cooler engine operation.Because of the better lubrication, there tends to be less friction within the engine, which causes the engine to run more efficiently. You’ll also get more miles with synthetic oil, because manufacturers only recommend changing it every 5,000 to 6,000 miles.
Under-inflated tires can reduce the tire life by 15 percent and will slightly decrease your gas mileage, perhaps by 10 percent. Checking your tire pressure every other time you get fuel will reduce tire wear and keep your car going for longer. Goodyear recommends changing tires every 3,000 to 6,000 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual to see if it suggests a different number. If you’re not sure how far 3,000 to 6,000 miles is, just change them every six months to be on the safe side. Some tire companies offer free rotations every 6,000 miles for the life of the tires when you buy their products.
Tune your engine
Those regular visits to the mechanic aren’t because you like throwing money at them; it’s because they know more about the engine than you do. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency.

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10 Ways to Avoid Junk Food

The older you get, the more of an enemy junk food becomes.  And the more of an enemy it becomes, the more you crave it.  I know there's probably some scientific explanation for why that is but for now, I don't want to focus on that.  Instead, I want to share some tips to help you stop eating junk food and to learn to avoid it. 

Junk food isn't just candy and cookies.  It can be whatever you need to avoid.  For me, it's stuff with added sugars, lots of carbs, and pretty much anything processed.   

I know I know, it's easier said than done.  But think about it, junk food gets in your house BECAUSE you let it.  So the first place to start is at the grocery store.  Stick to a list and DON'T add junk food to the list.  Resist the temptation in the aisles.  Don't even put your hand on anything because once you touch that box of cookies, it's going to be much harder to put it back on the shelf.  Resist Resist Resist.    

This is actually kind of liberating.   Sure the common sense part of my brain tries to say "Don't throw that away because you spent money on it!" but in order to start fresh, you need to not have any junk food in your home.  It actually does feel good to slam dunk those packaged snacks into the can.

Start thinking of heathy alternatives to junk food and make it a part of your routine.  Instead of a sugary ice cream cone for dessert, choose some fruit.  Instead of regular potato chips, opt for sweet potato chips.  You have to replace your bad choices with good ones.

When those cravings hit you, get up.   Go dust a bedroom, clean the kitchen counters, or tidy your vanity.  If you don't take action, the cravings will start to consume your brain.  Whenever I sit in front of the TV I automatically think "Hm, what should I eat?" so I began to pick up my ipad and play a game on it.  The cravings have passed and now I can beat them simply by not even allowing them into my brain.

This is a very helpful tip because once I started doing it, I actually wanted to avoid junk food.   I paid attention to what it did to me.  Carbs made me get sleepy and added sugars made me feel all wound up and then crash shortly after.  So now when a coworker brings in a box of donuts, all I see is "I'll be tired the rest of the day" and it makes me WANT to say no.  If you end up on the toilet right after you eat greasy pizza, remember that next time you go to reach for the phone to order.

Let your friends, family, spouse, and coworkers know that you are trying your best to avoid junk food.   This helps hold you accountable.  People may stop telling you when there's junk food in the break room.  Your spouse can call you out when you try to eat junk food.  You'll think twice about eating a bag of chips at your desk because you know others can see and scold you.

Avoid junk food at all costs.  Skip those aisles in the grocery store, don't look at what's in the vending machines, and turn right past magazine advertisements for snacks. 

If you work outside of your home, come prepared.  Pack a healthy lunch and include some snacks for the morning and afternoon.  If you are already prepared, you won't need to sneak off to the vending machine when you need some fuel after lunch. 

I don't just mean meal planning.  I mean make sure that food is always a priority.  If you have errands to run on a Saturday, before you get in your car ask yourself if you might still be running around at lunch time.  If so, either adjust your timing so you can be home to make healthy choices for lunch, or bring along a (healthy) granola bar to hold you over.  Impulses get the best of you when you're not in control.  

So you totally cheated and ate a bag of potato chips.  It's okay.  Just learn from it.   Pay attention to how crappy you feel and how frustrated you are with yourself.  You won't want to feel that way again so make sure you acknowledge that you screwed up and vow to not do it again.

What tips do you have for avoiding junk food?  

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Top 5 Reasons All Homeowners Should Have Home Liability Cover

Whilst nobody expects to be held responsible for any accidents that may happen in their home, accidents do happen and liability cover is an important insurance policy to have in order to help prevent you from paying out should any unexpected accidents occur. Here are our top five reasons why personal liability insurance may help protect you from any unforeseen situations and the areas that it can cover you in the worst case scenarios.


Medical Bills

Firstly liability coverage may be able to provide financial assistance for any medical bills that come up from an injury sustained by any visitors to your home. Without this insurance, should anyone suffer an injury in your home, you could be liable to have to pocket out for the medical bills should they make an injury claim against you. A person that has an accident on your property, may very well have their own health insurance, however you may still be held accountable for any expenses if the accident is found to be caused by negligence on your part. So this is definitely a top reason to cover yourself in case anything unexpected happens on your home turf.

Recovery & Loss of Wages

Even if all the medical bills have been settled and you have paid out for all the necessary medical expenses, the costs may not end there. If that person continues to suffer any kind of pain after the accident, that prevents them from going back to work, you could again be liable to cover their loss of income costs. Liability cover will protect you from this and cover potential additional charges, such as this.

Death Coverage

It is a terrible thought that anyone may die as a result of an accident on your property, however it is something that does happen. Death benefits are not always a standard clause on all home liability insurance policies, so you will want to make sure that this is added into any liability coverage you take out and that you are not trying to save money on leaving out certain clauses.

Legal Expenses

If the person decides that they want to go down the legal route, if they felt that the accident was a result of your negligence and therefore could have been avoided, you will need to hire the help of a good, local attorney. Being sued by someone can be a terribly long, drawn-out and complicated process so having a trusted and reputable attorney by your side will give you peace of mind that your case is in the best hands. This of course doesn’t come cheap however, so a home liability insurance policy may help you cover your legal expenses, whether you are found to be responsible or not.

Coverage Outside of the Home

Personal liability coverage may also cover you for any damages that occur from accidents that happen outside your home. For example, if you are on holiday and cause damage to a hire car or a hotel room, your personal liability coverage may well protect you from any expenses that the company asks you to reimburse.

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