Thursday, May 31, 2012

There’s something you should be changing on your car – and it’s not the oil...

When is the last time you changed your windshield wipers? 

Even good wiper blades don’t really last that long and start to lack performance by 6 months. Winter weather, rainy seasons, dust and dirt all take a toll on your wipers. Most of us don’t think about them until we’re using them. 

If your wipers are still relatively new, give them a once-over with some glass cleaner or dish soap every once in a while. Grime, pollen and debris can build up on that rubber and leave you with a subtle windshield blur in the rain.

If you’re tempted to remove Timeline from your Facebook – beware!

Now that the Timeline feature has rolled out onto most of our Facebook pages – scammers are raking in some personal information...  

According to Graham Cluely, security expert at Sophos, there are loads of online tools and websites claiming to be Timeline-removal aids. When prompted, the bogus software can be installed on your computer putting your personal data and security at risk.

If you enjoy using Facebook – you should try to either embrace or ignore the Timeline feature. As of now, Facebook does not give you the option of changing back to the old look – and scammers are really hoping you try.

Shut the Front Door!

Did you put a lot of thought into the color of your front door? 

You should. Your choice says a lot about you and your house:

• Blue: You view your home as a place of refuge.

• Green: Your home is a place of safety, health and harmony.

• Black: This is a serious place with someone strong and sophisticated inside.

• Red: Come on in – this house is full of life, energy and excitement.

• Brown: Your home may be cozy and warm – but you’d rather not be bothered.

If you didn’t choose the color of your front door – go ahead and change it. It’s one of the least expensive personal changes you can make to spiff up your home that you’ll see every day.

Inflatable pools are getting bigger and better – and more dangerous. What you NEED to know...

Every summer seems to unveil a bigger and better line of inflatable swimming pools for the back yard...

Unfortunately, reports of terrible accidents have been growing along with their popularity. The majority of people who buy and put up these pools don’t consider themselves pool owners. Proper fencing, alarms and covers are a MUST with swimming pools, and inflatable pools count. 

Every parent knows ANY water can pose a drowning hazard. These pools don’t get emptied at the end of the day and hold anywhere from 200 to 5,000 gallons of water.

Pool and spa experts also worry that these large, inflatable pools pose a health hazard if the water isn’t changed enough, or is left untreated.

There’s a new warning about kids and sunscreen...

If you use spray sunscreen, the FDA has issued a new warning: Hold your breath! 

There are concerns that consumers could be accidentally inhaling the sunscreen during application – and the risks of that are still being explored. For spray-on sunscreen, and other tanning products, we should really be spraying them into our hands and applying them that way. Kids are especially at risk of accidental inhalation. Avoid letting them apply sunscreen by themselves and spray the product into the hand, away from the face.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do brainstorming sessions work? Not really...

If you’re planning a brainstorming session for a few good ideas, don’t bother... 

According to Washington University psychologist R. Keith Sawyer, brainstorming groups come up with fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later POOL their ideas. 

If you really want to generate some productive ideas – schedule a debate. A recent study found participants are much more invested in ideas they’re encouraged to criticize or defend.

If you’re going to be in on a video conference – dress for it....

If you’re scheduled for a video conference later today, wear something neutral... 

Mashable.com has some office tech etiquette to help us not drive other people crazy:

• Video conferencing: Flashy or patterned clothing doesn’t play well electronically. Avoid those for video conferences and stick to neutral tones. And sit still! Fidgeting and moving around is really distracting.

• Conference calls: Don’t place someone on speaker without introducing all parties involved in the call. Preface what you’re about to say with your name - and keep it down! Most modern day phones are super sensitive. You want to avoid talking too loud, eating and making noise during the call.

You’ve probably got some hydrogen peroxide somewhere in the house - use it!

If you’re out of hydrogen peroxide – stock up...  

It’s non-toxic and really handy for lots of things around the house. Liz Foreman, from HouseLogic, has some clever uses for hydrogen peroxide:

• Clean your cutting board and countertop. Put some in an opaque spray bottle -- exposure to light kills its effectiveness -- and spray on your surfaces. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. 

• Wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher and microwave. Because it's non-toxic, hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning places that store food and dishes. 

• Clean the toilet bowl. Pour half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl, let stand for 20 minutes, then scrub clean. 

• Pre-treat laundry stains. Just soak the stain for a while in 3% hydrogen peroxide before tossing into the laundry. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a regular load of whites to boost brightness. It's a green alternative to bleach, and works just as well. 

• Help out your plants. To ward off fungus, add a little hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle the next time you're spritzing plants.

Are you a middle child? Uh-oh...

Congratulations middle child – you’ve been voted LEAST likely to succeed...

According to Dalton Conley, author of “The Pecking Order,” those of us born into the middle of the family could be less successful in adulthood than our siblings. That’s because middle children are more likely to struggle in school and less likely to get financial support for education. 

If you repeated a grade – blame your younger sibling. The chance that middles will be held back a year in school increases several fold with the birth of a third child.

If you’re low in zinc – you probably stink...

If you know someone with B.O. issues – offer them some cashews... 

Researchers have found a link between zinc and stink. People with a zinc deficiency usually experience an increase in body odor. We need zinc to help slow down the growth of stinky skin bacteria. 

Adding some foods which are naturally high in zinc can really make a difference in your personal aroma. Cashews are a good option – and some other choices are beef, spinach and baked beans.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

If you need to make an important decision – I’ll tell you WHERE to make it...

If you’ve got a big decision to make – get in the bathtub! 

Scientists at the University of Southern California have decided that’s the best place to make the best choice. They say by soaking in a warm relaxing tub, we’re much more able to focus on potential positives. When we’re in the tub, we’re out of our everyday environment, frame of mind and clothes – all of which can be sources of subconscious stress and distraction that can alter our good decision-making skills.

You’re re-filling the same old prescription – but the pills look different....

It can feel a bit confusing when the medication you’ve been taking regularly suddenly looks different...

This is happening more often, especially with generic drugs, due to patent laws that govern brand-name medication. Generics are not allowed to copy the size, shape and color of a brand-name pill and usually try to make those pills a bit different than other generics.

Before your prescription is even filled, pharmacies and wholesalers are busy shopping around for the best generic deal - which means the look of your pill or medication could change each time you fill it. 

It’s important to be extra careful every time your medication changes in appearance. Some consumers get in the habit of taking medicine by color. Getting too comfortable with different looking pills can also make it much harder to spot a mistake. If it looks different, ask the pharmacist to double check it anyway.  

If you work unusual hours, your health could be at risk...

If you or someone you know works unusual or rotating shifts, that could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes...  

A new study of U.S. nurses found that those who worked three or more night shifts a month, along with some day shifts, were 20% more likely to develop diabetes. Those statistics increased significantly for those who worked rotating shifts over the course of 10 years.

Experts say that people who work rotating shifts need to discuss it with their doctor. The risk of diabetes can be reduced with some lifestyle adjustments and regular screenings.

Now that summer is unofficially here, it’s time for a refresher course in swimming pool safety...

You may think you know all the safety precautions to take around swimming pools – but we still have over 5,000 pool or spa-related emergencies for children every year... 

Here are some reminders from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

• Alarms: Any door leading from the house to the pool area should have an alarm that sounds when opened. The pool itself should also have an alarm that sounds inside and outside if something falls in.

• Drains: Pools and spas MUST have covers that prevent entrapment over the drains. Some kids are naturally curious with the suction and that can lead to disaster.

• Inflatables: Some popular larger inflatable pool toys have been recalled due to accidents which have maimed or killed swimmers. Check for recalls by manufacturer.

Fresh cut flowers from the garden are beautiful. Here's how to make them last a LOT longer...

Flowers are blooming everywhere...

 ...and you can enjoy fresh cut flowers from your garden for a lot longer with a few tricks:

• Cut your flowers just before they bloom so they’ll continue blooming in your house.

• Remove any leaves that will be below the water line.

• Add some soda to the water in your vase. Freshly cut flowers need the sugar.

• Fresh cut flowers need air – don’t pack too many in one vase.

• Once cut, flowers need to stay cool. Avoid displaying them in a sunny spot. 

When cutting your flowers, cut at an angle and close to a leaf node. This will promote new growth and more flowers. It’s also best to cut your flowers in the morning to prevent stressing the plant.

Some over-the-counter relief could actually make food poisoning worse...

In the unfortunate event that you wind up with food poisoning – skip the Pepto-Bismol! 

Taking over-the-counter relief for upset stomach can actually make food-borne bugs last longer. You’ll also want to skip anything with dairy including ice cream. According to gastroenterologist Marianne Ritchie, most people become temporarily lactose intolerant when they have food poisoning. Stick to bland food like dry white toast, white rice, egg noodles and crackers and drink plenty of Gatorade.

Do you LOVE to shop? 5 signs you’re a shopaholic...

Are you a shopaholic? 

New research says 1 in 20 Americans are affected by CBD, or compulsive buying disorder. While it’s true that women tend to shop more than men in general – compulsive shopping is evenly split between genders and usually starts in young adulthood. Here are a few symptoms of a real shopaholic:

• Shopping causes intense feelings: People suffering from CBD experience a sense of excitement before the purchase. The “high” of buying is often followed by feelings of distress, shame or guilt.

• Anxiety: Shopaholics often experience intense stress or tension while trying to RESIST the urge to shop.

• Excessive buying: It’s normal to splurge on something you don’t really need once in a while. A compulsive shopper may buy several of the same or similar items.

70% of people suffering from CBD say their behavior causes problems in their relationships. Marriages, friendships and careers suffer when shopping is a priority. Compulsive buying often involves secrecy which erodes relationships – and piles of debt, or stuff, are bound to cause problems.

There’s a new crime trend on the rise – robberies by appointment...

If you’re advertising something to sell in the paper or online – beware of “robbery by appointment.” 

It’s a growing trend on the crime scene and there are a few red flags to look for:

• The buyer seems more focused on a time and place to meet than on the item for sale. 

• The buyer is determined to choose the place to meet.

• The buyer has little or no knowledge about the item for sale.

If you must meet the person to complete the transaction – suggest meeting at the closest police station. If the item can be sold and shipped, do so without revealing any personal information.

If you’d like to grow some new brain cells – dance!

There’s something we could be doing right now to grow some brand new brain cells – dancing! 

Anti-aging expert, Dr. T. Sinatra, explains why dancing is particularly powerful: When we’re dancing, our brains need take a lot into consideration, including balance, coordination and timing. That brain-drain actually kick-starts the growth of new brain cells and helps keep us young.

Brain dancing is most effective if you throw in a few new moves or steps each time. Dance for 30 minutes, 4 times a week, and you’ll cut the risk of dementia by 76%

What we eat has a big impact on our smile...

If you’d like to strengthen and brighten your teeth the old fashioned way...

...it’s important you eat some foods with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin C. Calcium strengthens teeth and bones, vitamin D helps you absorb the calcium and vitamin C is good for the gums. The best foods for your teeth are:

• Milk and dairy 
• Wild Salmon
• Broccoli
• Bell peppers
• Green and black teas

The worst food for your teeth include: starches, anything sticky and anything acidic. Here’s what we should be avoiding:

• Dried fruit and sticky candy are hard to clean off and can really do some damage.

• Bagels, pretzels and potato chips are all examples of starchy foods that stick to your teeth – which bacteria loves.

• Energy drinks and sweet teas are really rough on your teeth.

• Soda is sweet AND acidic. Even diet soda can do damage – use a straw.

• Lemons: It’s OK to eat them - but don’t suck on them. The acidic juice will erode the enamel of your front teeth.

Friday, May 25, 2012

If you’d like to live a few years longer, have some nuts..


We should all be eating a handful of nuts today – IF we want to live longer... 

Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones,” says that’s one of the secrets to longevity. People who eat small portions of nuts 5 days a week live an average of 2 years longer than those who don’t. Here are a few more routines to add to your fountain of youth:

• Laugh – a lot! It feels good and lowers your risk of heart attack.

• Cherish your friends. Socializing regularly and sharing hopes and fears with a close friend does wonders for your well-being – and theirs.

• Live like you mean it – having a clear sense of purpose and passionate connections with things you care about can extend your life considerably.

Those mini laundry detergent packets are convenient – but they’re dangerous...

If you’re trying out those new mini laundry detergent packets – and have young kids – keep them OUT OF REACH...  

Poison control centers have already taken over 250 calls from frantic parents stating their children had eaten the detergent packs. Fortunately, no deaths have occurred – but the poisoning associated with these packets is more severe than typical detergent poisoning. 

Dr. Michael Buehler of the Carolinas Poison Center said children could become very ill if they do ingest these laundry detergent pods. One bite-size packet has a full cup’s worth of detergent in there.

Do you suppress your sneezes? Don't!

Lots of people suppress their sneezes – and they really need to let them out...  

While your eyeballs may not pop out from suppressing a sneeze, you could be doing some other serious damage. Your body is trying to expel air at a whopping speed of 100 miles per hour. With nowhere else to go, when a sneeze is suppressed, that pressure is forced into the Eustachian tube which connects the back of the throat to the inner ear. 

By holding in that sneeze, you could actually wind up rupturing your eardrum. Some other risks associated with suppressing a sneeze include fractures in the nasal cartilage, hearing loss, vertigo and other injuries affecting the structures in the head.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

If you’re displaying the American flag this Memorial Day, there are some rules...

We will be seeing American flags everywhere this weekend...  

If you’re flying the flag on Memorial Day, there are some rules:

• In the morning, raise the flag to the top of the pole and then lower it to half-staff position, which is halfway between the top and bottom of the pole.

• At noon, raise the flag to the top of the pole for full-staff position.

• At sunset, lower the flag ceremoniously. It should come down slowly and you should take a moment to reflect before storing it for the night.

• When hanging the American flag from a window or draped from the edge of a building, always hang the flag vertically with the field of stars to the left for anyone viewing it.

As a sign of respect, it is proper to place your hand over your heart during a flag raising or lowering ceremony. Servicemen and women may use a military salute. Do not fly your American flag at night unless it is properly illuminated.

Your job could be giving you love handles...

If you sit at a desk all day, your job could be killing you...  

Those who spend a lot of time on the road, sitting in a car or behind a machine are at risk too. If heart disease and type 2 diabetes aren’t enough to scare you into getting a move on – maybe love handles will. Prolonged sitting triggers your metabolism to enter hibernation mode. That means your body starts to store fat and conserve energy. Even if you eat normally, you’ll be saving fat and gaining weight. For most sitters, that extra weight will end up dispersed around your mid-section and add some extra cushion to your seat.

It doesn’t take much to stave off hibernation mode at work. Stand up for a few minutes at least once an hour. Don’t sit down for your whole lunch break. Put your phone or something else you check regularly out of reach. Little adjustments like that can have a positive effect on your health – and your shape.

If you like to wear headphones, you might want to uncover your ears for this statistic...

Have you heard? If you wear headphones or ear buds, you’re growing batches of bacteria in your ears!  

It’s true – but is it really that bad? According to Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope, the volume has been cranked up a bit on the headphone/bacteria scare. While it’s true that covering your ears for any length of time creates the perfect dark, damp environment for bacteria to grow, experts have yet to find a big increase in ear infections or illness as a result. 

The bottom line: It’s a good idea to give your ears a little air – and avoid wearing headphones or ear buds for long periods of time. You should be doing that anyway for the sake of your hearing. You also want to avoid sharing listening devices and limit use if you’re prone to ear infections.

If you find a green potato chip in the bag – should you eat it?

Every once in a while you might come across a potato chip with green edges...

Go ahead and eat it if you really want to. If you’ve heard that green potatoes have turned poisonous, that’s true. But you would have to eat about 2 pounds of WHOLE green potatoes in order to feel the effects. The toxic solanine in green potatoes is mostly near the surface of the skin. Once peeled and processed, the fraction that remains is not enough to do us any harm.

If the potato chip in question is really dark brown, you might want to skip it. The sugar levels and amino acids in that chip are off, and so is the taste. 

Would you like more butterflies where you live?

Butterflies are free – so why not invite some into your yard? 

They’re not just beautiful; they will help keep your garden free of pests by attracting birds and other creatures that feed on their larvae. 

It’s not difficult to attract butterflies. You’ll need some sun, some water, some plants and a few flat rocks. Butterflies need to maintain their body temperature between 85 and 100 degrees. That’s why you’ll often see them basking on a flat rock in the sun. They also get thirsty, so you’ll need a birdbath or another small pool of water for them to drink from. As for flowers, they like most brightly colored cone shaped blooms, Marigolds, Sunflowers – and of course Butterfly Bush and Butterfly weed.

If you’ve ever wondered what the boss is thinking, I’ll tell you...

Wouldn’t it be great to read your boss’ mind? 

According to some corporate bigwigs, here’s what they’re thinking:

• What you do outside of work matters – especially where social media is concerned. Be really careful about how much you share about your weekend or what a jerk you think your coworker is. 

• Your Attitude is as important as your assignments are.

• Speak up! Don’t just fill a space at a desk - let me know what you need to succeed. 

• Follow my lead. If you’re not sure whether I prefer email or face-to face, ask.

• Toot your own horn – AND your co-worker’s. If you congratulate them, CC the boss.

• Make your performance review easier for BOTH of us. Keep track as you go, not just the day before.

• Make us both look better. Dress every day like you’ll be called into the company president’s office.

• Go ahead and compliment me once in a while. I need positive feedback too.

Some of the saltiest foods out there don’t taste it...

Foods that don’t taste particularly salty could still be PACKED with sodium...  

If you’re watching your intake, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some really salty food to beware of:

• Breads and rolls, especially bagels
• Deli meats and cured meats
• Pizza
• Fresh and processed poultry
• Soup
• Cheeseburgers and sandwiches
• Cheese
• Pasta dishes
• Meat dishes
• Salty snacks like pretzels, chips and popcorn

These are foods a lot of us eat multiple times a day, which puts us WAY above the daily recommended sodium intake of about 2,300 milligrams. Avoiding processed foods and mixing it up with good old fruits and vegetables is the easiest way to keep sodium levels in check.

Memorial Day weekend is almost here – and the mosquitos are licking their chops!

Guys who drink beer are REALLY attractive – to mosquitos! 

That’s the conclusion of some French researchers who served one group of men three cans of beer, while the other group drank water. When they unleashed the mosquitos, the beer drinking guys attracted 30% more mosquitos. 

The researchers haven’t tested other cocktails yet – but say any type of alcohol will probably have the same effect. People who are drinking are slower to notice the bugs or defend themselves.

If you know a recent college grad – here are a few things NOT to say to them...

So, what can you do with THAT degree? 

That’s one of the things NOT to say to that recent college graduate. Unless the answer is obvious, there’s a good chance that question will be frustrating to them. Here are a few more statements to avoid:

• You should go to law school. Try to determine what things they enjoy before suggesting a career path.

• Do you have a job lined up? It’s a tempting question but it can be awkward if the answer is no. Offering to share your industry connections with them will be much more appreciated.

• It’s a tough economy, join the club. Surely there must be something more encouraging to say.

• My niece just graduated and is doing great! Someone else’s success story sounds a lot more like you bragging than sincere interest in them.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

Most of us take a little comfort in our favorite foods.... 

And according to research by the nutritional scientists at the University of Illinois, your favorite comfort food reveals a bit about your disposition. Here’s what they found:

• People who love mashed potatoes are less likely to microwave food and tend to be the most family oriented.

• Chicken soup lovers are usually laid back and have the lowest stress levels.

• If meatloaf mellows you out, you’re the traditional type and a good team player.

• If you take comfort in ice cream, you’re probably extroverted and have lots of friends.

By the way, if your go-to comfort food is mashed potatoes – you’re in good company. 1 in 4 Americans site those as the most comforting and say they remind them of Mom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

There’s a new grilling hazard you need to hear about BEFORE this weekend...

Before you clean the grill for the holiday weekend – check the brush! 

According to Consumer Reports, there are new concerns about the metal bristles from grill-cleaning brushes. Vigorous cleaning can leave tiny metal shards in or on the grill and they could ultimately end up in you. 

In two separate incidents, men in New Jersey and Washing state complained of stomach pain after barbecuing. Both ended up in the hospital and required emergency surgery due to perforated intestines from the tiny bristles. 

If you do use a metal bristle brush, be sure it’s steel and not brass. You’ll also want to check the brush carefully for any loose or damaged bristles. If any have already broken off, get a new one.

Should you take your dog to that party or parade this weekend?

You might love a parade – but your dog probably doesn’t...  

Veterinarian T.J. Dunn says it’s a really bad idea to take your dog to that party, parade, festival, concert or carnival. Not only are dogs extra prone to heatstroke in these environments, there are potential dangers everywhere. 

Remember, a dog’s senses are much more sensitive than ours. The noise, sights, sounds and commotion of these human events can be overwhelming. Even if you’re sure your dog is having a good time, there are probably people around you who would like your dog a lot better – at home.

Certain foods could be making you dumb. Here's the stupid menu...

Blueberries and salmon are great for your brain – but some food could be making us dumb...  

Here’s a list of anti-brain food:

• Sugar: It’s been linked to slowed learning and memory loss and can interfere with the thought process and emotions.

• Red meat and butter: Women who’s diets were high in saturated fat scored lower on tests of brain function and memory.

• Junk food: Kids who started eating junk food at the age of 3 had a drop in their IQ 5 years later.

• Low-carb diets: Ditching the carbs can result in a slight loss of cognitive skills.

What is up with the latest trend in women’s shoes?

If you’ve attended a graduation or prom this season – you probably watched some young women teetering around on some REALLY big shoes... 

Platform shoes are nothing new – but this season they’re on the rise again. Twice the height of a traditional high heel, these shoes rise about 6 or 7 inches in the heel – but the additional inch or two under the front make them a little easier to walk in. 

There’s nothing subtle about these trendy platforms. This season the design is not just in the shoe – but in the brightly colored or adorned platform portion. Lots of straps or ties around the ankles complete the look of these in-your-face shoes. If you’re more of the sneaker type, you’re in luck. High heeled and platform sneakers are available too if you’d like your next jog to be a real challenge. 

Are you ready for WEA messages on your phone? What they are and who will be getting them...

Don’t be surprised if you start to get some messages on your phone that you don’t recognize... 

The CTIA Wireless Association and the FCC are about to roll out what they describe as a robust, wireless emergency alert system – or WEA. Here’s what the WEAs will consist of:

• Presidential Alerts – Alerts issued by the President or a designate.

• Imminent Threat Alerts – Alerts that include severe man-made or natural disasters, such as earthquakes or tornadoes, where an imminent threat to life or property exists.

• AMBER Alerts – Alerts that meet the U.S. Department of Justice’s criteria to help law enforcement locate an abducted child.

These alerts will appear similar to a text message - and you WON’T be charged for them. The cell tower you are closest too is what determines which WEAs are relevant to you. You won’t need to sign up for these alerts, they’re automatic – but you could opt out if you choose. Not all devices are WEA capable – some will require a software upgrade. Check your carrier’s website for the list of WEA capable devices – or go to CTIA.org.

Monday, May 21, 2012

If there’s an animal in your dream – that means something...

Think hard about the last dream you had...  

Was there an animal lurking around somewhere? Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, author of “Dream On It,” says about 50% of our dreams feature an animal somewhere – and each animal breeds a different message in our dream:

• A horse represents self-confidence. If it’s happy or running free, you’re feeling secure and confident. If it’s sick or timid, something is holding you back in life.

• A wild cat like a lion or tiger represents your ambition: Dreaming of a predatory cat suggests you’re on the hunt for something. If it’s chasing you, you may be afraid of getting what you really want.

• A house cat represents your sensual side. Dreaming of them is usually a sign of confidence and sex-appeal. If it’s meowing or trying to get your attention, you’re probably neglecting that part of yourself.

• A bird represents freedom. If it’s flying, that’s good news. If it’s ill or wounded, or in a cage, you’re probably stuck in a rut or frustrated.

• A dog represents your relationships. The behavior of the dog in your dreams will likely be very similar to that of the person in your closest relationship.

What will most Americans serve for dinner tonight?

If you guessed pizza, pasta or meatloaf s as the most popular American dinner, you’d be wrong...

...unless you had that last night. It turns out most people are eating leftovers. A study by the Food Marketing Institute reports that 58% of Americans will be having last night’s dinner tonight, on any given night. The study also revealed that we’re cooking with less fancy foods and buying more store brands - and that only 39% of us think home cooked meals are healthier than eating out.

Move over rose and vanilla scented candles – there are some manlier scents in town...

If you think of scented candles as feminine – brace yourself for a few new scents... 

Just in time for Father’s Day, Yankee Candle has come out with a new line of Man Candles with scents just for him. Here are his scented options:

• Riding Mower smells like freshly cut grass.

• Man Town is a masculine blend of spices, woods and musk.

• First Down is a combination of orange, patchouli and leather.

• 2 x 4 smells like freshly planed wood and sawdust.

In most smell tests – she liked it too! Most women gave the Man Candles favorable review, some noting that it smelled like a man had just been in the room.

Go ahead; say a really bad word out loud today...

Have you said a curse word today? 

It could be good therapy. Dr. Neel Burton, author of “Hide & Seek,” says there are some real physical and psychological benefits to using curse words – if you do it effectively. Studies have shown cursing can reduce pain, lower blood pressure, increase endorphins and circulation and even give us a better sense of power, control and well-being.

In order to use bad words with good purpose, it’s important to use them sparingly. “Chain swearers,” or people who curse more than a few times a day wind up desensitized. Not only will they not feel the benefits of cursing, the people around them will become immune to their emotional outbursts.

Most of us could probably use a little grounding...

Some of us LOVE to walk barefoot... 

For people who don’t, you should give it a try. There is a concept in natural healing called “earthing” or “grounding,” and anybody can do it. All you need is some earth, and your bare feet. Experts say that direct contact with the earth puts us in touch with the natural electric energy of its surface – which can stabilize our body’s own electrical system leaving us feeling replenished and recharged. 

The most effective methods of earthing are to walk barefoot or sit in a chair whith your bare feet on the ground for 30 minutes. Direct sunlight enhances the effect. Grass, dirt and sand are all excellent sources of the earth’s electrons and direct sunlight enhances the effect. The soles of your feet aren’t your only conductor, any body part will do – but it does need to be direct skin to ground contact.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Couples who play together stay together. Why you might need to engage in some role-playing...

If your partner plays World of Warcraft, Age of Conan or Eve Online, you might want to brush up on your gaming skills... 

New studies show these games aren’t always just minor hobbies but can be super addictive and take a serious toll on relationships. 

The study found that adult couples, in which only one spouse played, were twice as likely to fight. Couples who played together reported the games as having a positive effect on their relationship. Many of the gaming adults admitted feeling more connected to the game than their partner – and that they were thinking about the game even when they weren’t playing it.

Is it okay for your child to have an imaginary friend?

It’s perfectly normal for some children to dream up an imaginary friend...

...but should you be setting a place at the table for them? Probably not. According to pediatric psychologist David Erickson, if your child is between the ages of 2 and 6, that imaginary friend is probably helping with your child’s social and emotional development. Your best approach to take is to not go out of your way to either ignore or draw attention to the invisible pal.

Dr. Erickson says, if the imaginary friend is overstaying its welcome, persists into elementary school - or prevents real friendships from developing, it might be a good time to visit a counselor or psychologist.

Did you just buy flowers in full bloom? Uh-oh...

It’s tempting to buy flowers and plants in full bloom when you’re planning your garden – but that’s a mistake... 

It’s better to choose plants with healthy foliage and some buds. You want them to peak at your house, not at the nursery or store. Here are some other common gardening mistakes:

• Too much variety: Taking home just one or two of a particular plant makes your garden look hodgepodge. Three to six of a species will look much more unified and professional.

• Root-bound: If there are roots coming out of the bottom of the container – skip it. Tangled roots suffocate the plant and deprive it of nutrients.

• Waiting to plant: If you just stuck the plants where you plan to plant them, still IN their pots – that’s a mistake. Either get them into the ground or keep them in a shady, damp spot until you can.

If you haven’t bought all your plantings yet – it’s a good idea to take photos of the spots you’ll be sprucing up ahead of time. Those will be a handy reference to share with a professional at the nursery. 

Some of our favorite inventions happened by mistake...

Frank Epperson with grandaughter

It’s hard to imagine a world without corn flakes – but those were invented by mistake....  

While making bread dough, Will Keith Kellogg left the boiled wheat sitting out for several hours – but decided to bake it anyway. The result: crunchy flakes that would change his life. Here are a few more happy accidents:

• In 1905, 11 year old Frank Epperson left a soft-drink with a stirring stick in it on the front porch. Thanks to freezing temperatures that night, frozen ice on a stick was born. Frank patented the Eppsicle 20 years later – but then changed the name to Popsicle.

• Simon Campbell and David Roberts, two researchers at Pfizer, were working on a drug to treat high blood pressure. After testing it on some patients they discovered an unexpected perk among the side effects – and voila, Viagra!

If you get migraine headaches – you’re probably prone to hangovers...

Have you ever had a delayed alcohol-induced headache?  

Hangover headaches are nothing new – but new research says people prone to migraines are MUCH more likely to suffer. 

For the study, scientists found some rats who suffer from recurrent migraines.  Both the regular rats and the migraine rats were then asked to drink the equivalent of 2 shots of liquor.  The next morning, the migraine rats were MUCH crankier than the regular rats, had a lower threshold for pain – and begged the regular rats to stop squeaking so loud. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Should you take zinc for a cold? The pros and cons...

Although there’s no cure to the common cold, you could shorten it significantly by taking some zinc... 

According to a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, adults who took zinc supplements within a few days of their first cold symptoms shortened the length of the cold by about two days. Unfortunately, there was not much difference for kids who took the zinc.

Before you stock up, there is a downside to taking zinc. Common unpleasant side effects may include nausea, upset stomach, vomiting and a metallic taste in the mouth. It is also recommended that you avoid using nasal sprays with zinc to treat a cold, which could put your sense of smell at risk.