Ask Away Blog: 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

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

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.   




1.DON'T BUY IT
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.    
 

2. GET RID OF WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
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.


3. CHOOSE HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES
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.


4. STAY BUSY AND ACTIVE
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.

5. REMEMBER HOW THEY MAKE YOU FEEL
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.

6. TELL EVERYONE AROUND YOU
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.

7. AVOID AVOID AVOID
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. 


8. LUNCH AND 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. 

9. PLAN WHAT YOU EAT
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.  



10. PAY ATTENTION TO THE GUILT
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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Monday, June 26, 2017

Books I Recommend You Read [June]

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The Strays by Emily Bitto
This book takes place in the 30's and is a very interesting fictional read about a family with a VERY unique dynamic and the tragedy that takes place within.   I really liked this because I always find the dynamic between human beings fascinating.



The Foundling by Paul Fronczak

It's been a while since I read a non-fiction book, and this one was worth it.  It's about a guy who was believed to be a stolen baby and returned to his family.  Only he's not that same kid. But he goes on a mission to find out who he is.   It's fascinating how genealogy can help someone do that.   And at the same time he is trying to find the REAL baby that was stolen from his adoptive parents.



The Violated by Bill Pronzini
I'm not usually a fan of mystery books anymore but this one was pretty good.  There was a serial rapist on the loose, until they found him.  But now he's dead.  And then another rape happens. So now a whole town is searching for who killed the rapist, and who committed the most recent rape.  Told from everyone's point of view, this is a great read!


All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell
This is an amazing book about a family and a girl who is their nanny.  She is extremely close to the family but when tragedy hits things get very difficult and consume her.   For her first book, the author did an amazing job. Despite the sad events, there is still happiness throughout the story.


Before This Is Over By Amanda Hickie

This was a really cool book.  It's basically about a family that is contained to their house and street while there's an epidemic going around where people are getting sick from a virus and dying.  It's very interesting to read how each person is dealing with the situation and it really kept my attention until the end.




Rabbitcake by Annie Hartnett
 This book was so amazing.   It's about a girl coming of age who experiences the death of her mom and how she copes with the way her family changes because of it. Filled with some humor, some sadness, and something that everoyne can relate to, it was hard to put down.


The Assistants by Camille Perri

This is a story we can all relate to.  A girl is working as an assistant to a RICH Business man.    she stumbles upon an accidental error that pays off her student loan debt (OOPS!).  Then it escalates quite quickly when others become involved and she has no choice but to help them become debt free as well. But of course it can't go on forever without being noticed or can it?



Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

This was a very interesting novel.  A family with a troubled child decides to go away to a "camp" that will help them all.  But things aren't what they seem and there is some disturbing stuff going on.  Wait till you get towards the end... just trust me.


Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

If you loved the book ROOM you will love Ginny Moon.  It's told through Ginny's point of view. Ginny is a fourteen year old autistic girl and it's an amazing view of her world and how she sees thing and how "normal" she truly is!


What have you been reading lately?




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Outfit of the Day: Pretty Paisley




I used to never be a fan of paisley.  In fact, I thought it looked "old".   But that is SO not true and I LOVE IT! This is a LuLaRoe Lucy Skirt. I love the Lucy because it's flowy and so comfortable and has an elastic band at the waist to hold it in place.   







The print on this skirt was awesome because it has SO many different colors and shades in it that I can wear it with virtually any color top.  I wore a LuLaRoe Classic T here and tied it in a knot at the side.  It's a larger size so it's too flowy to wear with a skirt like this without tying it up.










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Friday, June 23, 2017

Outfit of the Day: Maxis and Knots






As much as I love the flow of maxi skirts, sometimes I don't want to deal with it. So I solve that little issue by simply tying a knot at the bottom of my maxi.



Even though my Classic T has a knot in it too, it still looks super cute and it lets a little breeze get in so my legs don't get too hot.

Are you a fan of maxi skirts?












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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The COOL Girl's Guide to Beating the Summer Heat







 
This post was a long time comin'.   In Pennsylvania the summer heat gets very oppressive.  It's swampy, humid, and hot hot hot!   Instead of being miserable, I wanted to put together a little survival guide on how to make the most of summer in all aspects of life.  From budgeting on a/c bills to dealing with boob sweat.   I'm even including links to the products I use so if you want to stock up you can! Enjoy!

[HAIR]
Yes, I know, it sucks.  Hair gets frizzy and icky and no matter what you do it looks like crap.  I do have a few solutions though.   For starters, since dry hair tends to absorb moisture in the air, I try to avoid drying my hair out.  My hair dries out quickly from washing it too often so I wash every other day. 


I do notice it helps a lot and I also use an anti-frizz spray that seems to work well. In between washes I use dry shampoo to keep it smelling nice and looking a bit less greasy, although depending on your hair type it can be inevitable.  

When I am attending an outdoor party and my hair looks like a frizzy mess no matter WHAT I do, I opt for an adorable sun hat like this one! Seriously, it covers the frizz and it's really cute.

Or you can just tie your hair up in a top knot and no one will see that you're actually a frizzy greasy mess.

[BODY SWEAT]
Did you ever notice how literally EVERYTHING sweats in the summer?  Yes, I mean I'm sweating all over the place.  Sometimes I get up from sitting and I feel like I peed my pants.  Sorry but it's true.   So I have several ways I try to combat that. 

For starters, I always use an antiperspirant deoderant.  I found one that works well for me and lasts.  Once you find a good one, stick with it.

Got boob sweat?  You can apply a powder (baby powder, makeup finishing powder, WHATEVA!) underneath.    Also, I keep body wipes with me so I can freshen up around my neck, hairline, and my boobs throughout the day. 

Now, if you're like me, your thighs rub. I know some people wear dedorant there but that doesn't help me because my thighs still rub and it's uncomfortable and annoying.   So I wear thin little panty hose style shorts.   The ones with a serious control top are too oppressive in summer weather.  These little numbers are adorable and I have a pair in black and nude. I wear them underneath dresses and skirts and they act as a little guard so that I get the benefit of wearing some sort of fabric without the heat and discomfort. 

And if you're concerned about hoo-ha and bum bum sweat, just remember to wear breathable cotton panties.   Also, you'll thank me later but if you go to a pool party, don't sit too long in your damp bathing suit bottoms. That's a great way to get a yeast infection and there's NOTHING worse than a yeast infection in the middle of summer!
[BILLS]
It seems like summer gets expensive around the house.   You start showering more often so your water bill may go up a bit, but what really gets people fired up is the electric bill.   Here's a HUGE tip - when you're not at home, your house dosen't have to be an icebox.  It's just a waste of money.   And if you have pets - rest assured they will survive.  You people act like they are stranded in the desert!   When we're away from the house we turn the thermostat to 75. The second we get home we turn it down to 71 or 70.   We also keep the fan running from time to time so the air doesn't get stagnant.  
Want to save even more on energy costs? Consider shutting the blinds and curtains when you aren't home so the sun's rays aren't beating into the house.   Don't let doors or windows open when the heat is oppressive.  Consider upgrading your thermostat too. The NEST thermostats are so amazing!






[EXERCISE]
So you love being active outdoors but once it gets to that unbearable temperature and humidity level outside you lose all motivation right? Well, plan accordingly.   Get your walks and runs in later in the evening or early in the morning before the sun is bright and directly overhead.  Change your route to streets (or sides of the streets) where there's more shade.  Or consider riding a bike so you can at least have wind on you at all times.   Wear light colored clothing, a hat, and stay as hydrated as possible without peeing your pants.

[HEADACHES]
This kind of fits in with a lot of other things on this list. People often complain about headaches in the summer.  Well for starters, make sure you drink enough water. Not sure how much to drink? Take your weight and divide it by 2 and that's generally the ounces of water you should be taking in daily.   Try to avoid sodas or alcohol when you're out in the sun because it will just dehydrate you quicker. And remember just because you're in the pool doesn't mean your body is hydrated. You still have to drink water.
Also, wear sunglasses! Squinting all day can give you tension headaches, plus you look like a goofball always walking around with your eyes all squinty and your face all scrunched up.


[SWEATY STINKY FEET AND SHOES]
Trust me, I can't stand wearing sandals or slip on shoes that are full of stink and make my feet sweat. I have an amazing solution to that.  Obviously with sandals I wear a foot deodorant.

I put it on every morning and it really does make a difference with my sandals.  After a hot day where I'm sweating a lot I will also set my sandals out in the afternoon/evening sun so the light zaps some stink and bacteria.

For flats and slip ons I wear little teeny tiny socks that actually absorb sweat and they make my shoes last a heck of a lot longer. 
[SUNBURN]
The sure fire way to look like a goofball in the Summer is having red skin because your stubborn ass didn't put on sunscreen.  First off, you can still get a tan through sunscreen so stop acting like you can't protect your skin because you want some color.

So there you have it - from boob sweat to stinky feet.  I hope this helps you survive the summer.  What other tips do you have?






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Mistakes To Avoid When Reducing Your Debt


 

Most of us in our lives experience money worries, and it can be a very worrying and stressful time dealing with debt. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you can get a wealth of information on various websites online to help guide you through your problems and find a solution that works for you. The most popular way to reduce your debt is a consolidation loan, but there are mistakes that you need to avoid when looking to get yourself out of debt.

Living Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque


Many people struggle towards the end of the month before they get paid, and this cycle can go on for years and years if you do not address the problem. If you ever want to get your head above water, you will have to work out where your money is going and find a way to reduce your outgoings. There are many ways that you can do this from changing the grocery store that you shop at to not going out as often socialising for meals, drinks, or going out to venues.

Work Out Your Finances


You will want to create a record of all of your incoming money each month and list all of your outgoings. Do this for every day for a month, and then you will be able to sit down and see where you spend your money. You will also be able to see places that you can potentially save money by changing your shopping habits and spending less on entertainment. There may also be things that you may have to give up entirely for a while until you are more financially secure and have reduced your debt.

Seek Expert help


You will also need to seek the assistance of experts in finance such as Debt Fix, who will be able to advise you on all of the options that are available for you. It is important that you research a company thoroughly before you begin talking to them, and if looking for assistance in the form of a consolidation loan, then you will find that shopping around is essential to get the best deal. The charges and interest rates can vary quite considerably between companies, so it always pays to shop around and compare companies against each other.

Break The Habit


The problem of debt can be cyclic, and you often need to make changes in your life to remain debt free and financially stable. You should treat your debt as an education and learn how to make sure that you do not find yourself in the same situation again. You can still treat yourself now and then, whether it is going out for a meal and drinks, or buy some new shoes, but you should moderate your spending and try to save money whenever you can. If you change your spending patterns, you will soon be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and work towards financial security for both you and your family. If you are in debt, you are not alone, seek financial help and look after the future of your family.










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