Sunday, October 28, 2012

Is it possible to be scared to death?

Have you ever been scared to death? 

Not if you're reading this – but you may have come close. Experts now say it is possible to be scared to death. It’s a condition called stress cardiomyopathy, which can actually cause a person to die from an extremely traumatic event, triggering a heart attack. It could even be something happy like a surprise party.

The good news is that death by surprise is actually quite rare. Common sense would dictate that you avoid frightening, traumatizing or throwing big surprises at someone with a heart condition or history of heart attack.

Do you know someone who’s always negative? How to spot a negaholic...

People can be addicted to all kinds of behavior – and negativity is one of them...

People addicted to negative behavior, or negaholics, will find fault in most everything and will never seem satisfied. Negativity addicts have a bleak outlook and may actually seek out situations and criticisms – or dwell on past negative experiences. They would rather complain about a problem than find a solution.

For some people, negativity provides mental stimulus. The become so conditioned to the stronger emotions that go along with bad news, that good news or positive situations become much less stimulating. If you think someone you know may be a negaholic – professional help may be in order, especially if it’s someone you live with

Are you really going to make your dog wear that costume? Halloween and your pets...

It’s no wonder so many dogs and cats HATE Halloween...

Strangers, scary masks, weird behavior and humiliating costumes are probably not something most animals would choose to participate in. Here are some reminders from the ASPCA your pets would like you to consider:

• Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. 

• Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can leave your pet with stomach problems if they nibble on them. 

• Dress-ups can be a nightmare for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. For pets who prefer their own fur, costumes can cause undue stress. 

• If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. 

• Most dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets and dangerous to visitors. 

Do you shower every day? Why you may want to skip one...

For most people, good personal hygiene involves taking at least one shower per day – but could that be making you dirtier? 

According to medical researchers, every time we lather up and rinse, we’re actually just spreading aroud skin-borne bacteria. That’s why surgical teams and patients are restricted from showering before entering an operating room. Showering too much has also been found to be damaging to your skin. We’re just washing off the protective outer layer which was trying to protect the fragile new cells underneath.

So how often should we shower? Every other day is sufficient for most people. If you can’t stand the thought of it, keep your daily showers brief and avoid really hot water and over scrubbing. 

Don’t just eat your veggies – really chew them..

Eating vegetables is good for you. Chewing them to a pulp is even better...

Dr. Gerard E. Mullin, author of “The Inside Tract,” says we’ll be getting a LOT more nutrients out of our vegetables if we really chew them thoroughly. The more we chew, the less our stomachs have to work to break down, extract and absorb all the good stuff in there. 

If you like raw vegetables, that’s great – but about 70% of their nutrients aren’t absorbed and will go to waste. To really get the most out of your veggies, it’s best to lightly steam them or pop them in the microwave briefly.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

If you’re not really into art – you could be at a disadvantage. New artsy research...

If you need an excuse to start appreciating art – here’s a new one...

According to researchers at the University Tor Vergat in Italy, art-loving stroke survivors had faster and better odds of recovery. Of the survivors they looked at, they discovered those who enjoyed music, painting and theater were happier and healthier, with more energy and mobility than those who didn't. The artsy types also had heightened memory and communication skills.

Art appreciation benefits those who haven’t had a stroke too. A recent Norwegian study found that cultured women and men, who attended more concerts, art galleries, and the theater, lived happier and in better health than those who didn’t.

Carving a pumpkin can be risky business. How to avoid this Halloween horror story...

Most of us think of pumpkin carving as family-friendly fun – but for too many people, it can wind up being a gory nightmare...

According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, hospitals are dealing with as many as five times more hand injuries than normal in late October. These can be serious injuries. Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds to the hand can damage nerves, tendons, and joints. Here are some pumpkin-carving safety precautions to take:

• Don't let young kids carve. Children under 14 shouldn't do the actual carving. Instead, have them draw the pattern with a marker and clean out the pulp and seeds with their hands or a spoon. It's important to supervise older teens, too. 

• Use the right tools. Pumpkin-carving kits with specialty tools were found to be much safer than standard kitchen cutlery. 

• Take precautions. Keep your hands and tools clean and dry and take your time.

• Do decorative work before taking off the top of the pumpkin. Cutting the pattern on the surface before gutting the pumpkin will reduce the likelihood that you'll put your hand in the pumpkin, where it could be vulnerable to injury. 

• Hold the Pumpkin with Caution – Injuries usually occur when cutting towards your hand or when the knife slips out the other side of the pumpkin where it is being held. 

The camera on your phone could help in an emergency. What to take some pictures of...

Do you have an emergency photo album? 

It’s a really good idea and shouldn’t be too hard to create. If you’ve got an album option on your phone, taking pictures of some key documents and items could really help in an emergency:

• Your photo ID. You can cover sensitive information before taking the shot.
• Your health insurance card
• Your auto insurance card
• Your car's license plate
• Prescription medicine labels
• The name and number of an emergency contact
• Any valuables or irreplaceable items

Your emergency photo album may just come in handy even in non-emergencies. It’s a handy reference for information you don’t usually carry around and a good check list if your wallet is ever lost or stolen.

If you have trouble falling asleep at night – go to your happy place. Where it is and how it helps...

35% of adults struggle with falling asleep at night and experts suggest they find a happy place...

Physicians at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland have developed a 10 minute tension tamer to induce relaxation and sleep. The first step is to close your eyes. Next, find your happy place. This should be a serene and inviting place, such as a warm beach or quiet lake. Anywhere you would go to unwind and soak up some serenity. You’ll want to focus on the details of your happy place such as waves lapping at the shore, a cool breeze or rustling leaves. Spend 10 minutes in there, breathing in the atmosphere slowly and deeply.

For those who tried it, this 10 minute tension tamer routine experienced significantly lower stress levels, improved quality of sleep and less daytime fatigue. You can go to your happy place in bed – or find a quiet spot for the routine before you hit the sack. 

Mischief night might have been fun as a kid. For adults – not so much. How to protect your property and your neighbors...

Brace yourself for mischief night...

Many communities have cracked down with curfews and restrictions for the night before Halloween – but that won’t deter some mischief makers. Here are a few precautions to take to protect your property and you neighbors from toilet paper, shaving cream – and worse:

• For your car, your best defense is a protective coat of wax. Now is a good time to apply it. 

• If your car is hit, rinse off solid residue that can scratch the paint, such as eggshells, as soon as possible. Then give your vehicle a thorough washing to get rid of the other material. Any acid residue left on there can do some damage when exposed to the sun.

• Keep as many lights on as possible, it definitely deters mischief makers.

• If there is an abandoned house or property nearby – check it from time to time. They’re a prime target for pranks on mischief night and extra prone to damage or fires.

• If you’ve got an elderly neighbor – be a good neighbor and provide an extra set of eyes and ears for them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gluten-free food is all the rage and now some cosmetics are going gluten-free. So are they necessary?

There’s a hot new line of cosmetics on the shelves – gluten-free...

So are they worth it, or just a trend? According to Dr. Peter Green, director of The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, topical contact with gluten really shouldn’t pose a problem for people. Those who are allergic or sensitive to gluten need to ingest it to have a reaction.

There are a few gluten-free cosmetics that someone with an allergy should consider. Lipstick and lip balms will likely wind up being ingested. Gluten-free would be the way to go for those. Gluten-free mascara and eyeliners are other products you might like to try, as those products can get into your system through rubbing or washing your eyes.

If you’re a perfectionist – you’re making a BIG mistake...

Nobody’s perfect – but some people just keep trying...

According to sociologist and former perfectionist, Dr. Christine Carter, perfectionists really need to lighten up. Paying too much attention to detail and success WILL take a significant toll on your life. New data from Trinity Western University in Canada found that perfectionists have an increased risk of death by a staggering 51%.

Perfectionists tend to have much higher levels of stress and frustration, which lowers immunity and can leave them prone to illness and depression. Those who strive for perfection in their professional lives often have little time left to care for themselves, which can be a fatal mistake. 

Look around. You’re bound to see something pumpkin. The great pumpkin flavoring fad...

If it seems like there’s more pumpkin stuff than ever this year, you’re not imagining things...

Pumpkin always gets a push at this time of year but the flavoring fad is at an all-time high this go-around. Pumpkin pies and breads may be nothing new – but now we’re seeing less conventional pumpkin stuff on the shelves including pumpkin coffee and tea, butter and beer, pumpkin granola, ice cream and yogurt, pumpkin pancakes and pastas, dog treats and even pumpkin cream cheese for your pumpkin bagel.

Recent market research from the restaurant industry says pumpkin beverages have spiked by 400% since 2007. Keith Stewart, director of marketing at Cosi, says pumpkin is a flavor that brings on the nostalgia and customers are instantly drawn to it. Pumpkin booze is a big seller. People are picking pumpkin cocktails made with pumpkin vodkas, rums or pumpkin punch.

If you’re a bystander in a CPR situation – there’s something you can do to help...

You may breathe a huge sigh of relief if someone else comes to the rescue in an emergency – but you’re not off the hook...

A recent study found that someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest in a public place has a much better chance when two or more people are helping. 

For a lot of us, it’s human nature to stand back and let someone who knows what they’re doing take over. However, even if you’re not prepared to perform CPR, you could be the one to ultimately save a life. Your job is to immediately start asking if anyone nearby is a health professional. Next, designate someone to start looking for an AED, or automated external defibrillator. While you’re waiting for the ambulance, stay with the person doing the CPR and assist them by helping them count compressions and offering calm words of encouragement.  

Red wine, olive oil and dark chocolate are all good for us, within reason. How much is too much...

It’s true that glass of red wine and chunk of dark chocolate are good for you – just don’t get carried away...

Here is a list of good stuff that turns bad if we’re not careful:

• Nuts: Stick to almonds, walnuts and pistachios and don’t eat more than you can fit in your hand.

• Red wine: 4 ounces daily is the recommended dose for the average woman. That’s just half a glass.

• Avocado: It’s true that it’s good fat – but stick to a few slices or tablespoons.

• Olive oil: It’s the best choice of oil but it’s also 100 calories per tablespoon. Dip and drizzle accordingly.

• Dark Chocolate: Great choice – but you don’t need more than six grams, that’s one square.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If you’re costume shopping this week, there are some scary accessories you might want to skip...

If you’re still looking for that perfect Halloween costume, you might want to skip the wig...

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has some Halloween costume safety issues to keep in mind while making your choice:

• Beards and wigs can be dangerous. If you’ll be wearing one be sure to check the label for the phrase “Flame Resistant.”

• Avoid baggy sleeves and billowy skirts for kids. They’ll likely be excited and not conscious of the hazards that go along with those.

• Ties, hats and scarves are not a good idea for young children.

• Be cautious with face paint--much of it isn't FDA-approved and could trigger allergic reactions.

It’s also a good idea to buy a roll of reflective tape while you’re shopping. Kids and adults alike should have some on their costume if they’ll be trick-or-treating at night.

Do yourself a favor today – get upside down...

When is the last time you were upside down? 

Those who do yoga can tell you how great inversions feel – as can kids hanging from the monkey bars or mastering a head stand. While some of those might be bold attempts for most of us, there are some more subtle inverted positions for beginners. Just lying on the floor with your legs on a chair and pillow under your hips for a few minutes can give your lower body a break from gravity, improve blood flow to the heart and leave you feeling energized. If your're limber and flexible, try the shoulder stand position. Lying on your back, roll onto your shoulders, support your back with your hands and get your torso and legs vertical. Mastering this move improves balance, stability, oygen levels and mental clarity.

Did you know heartburn can be deadly? Risks and red flags to look for...

Most of us think of heartburn as a burning sensation in the chest – but that’s not always the case...

According to Dr. Jamie Koufman, author of “Dropping Acid,” there is another type of heartburn, known as LPR, which can be very dangerous. The symptoms may include a chronic cough, hoarseness, frequent throat-clearing, difficulty swallowing or noisy breathing. You may never experience that burning sensation. What makes it dangerous is that it is often misdiagnosed as allergies or postnasal drip. 

LPR heartburn increases risk for asthma, pneumonia and even esophageal and throat cancers. If you experience symptoms such as coughing or a lump in the throat sensation after eating or lying down, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist. 

If you’re lucky enough to land a new job – don’t blow it on day one...

The first day of a new job can be exciting and terrifying. Relax...

Holly Paul, a top career consultant, has got you covered. Here’s her advice:

• Choose your outfit ahead of time. Try to blend in. If you’re not sure, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

• Practice introducing yourself. You’ll be doing a lot of that. You’ll need your name and new title and a short description of what you’ll be doing or who you’ll be working with.

• Arrive about 15 minutes early. It will take a while to get used to your new commute.

• Don’t try to hit the ground running or prove yourself on day one. Take advantage of your newbie status and stay upbeat and eager to meet new people. If you throw yourself into your work right off the bat, you’ll miss an important social opportunity.

• Have a note pad and pen handy at all times. Your first day should include a lot of listening and note taking. Write down everything from names and positions to questions or suggestions you’ll save for later.

Just because lead paint was banned in 1978 doesn’t mean you’re not at risk. Where to look for it...

Was your house built before 1978? 

If so, you and your family could still be at risk for lead poisoning. Here are some common problem spots you should be aware of:

• Fences and porches were often painted with lead paint which may have leached into the soil around them.

• Painted steps can also pose a problem. If the surface is damaged, lead particles can be tracked into the home.

• Painted doors, hinges and windows, inside and out, can release led dust through friction.

• Older painted stairs and built-ins need to be carefully checked.

• Older water lines, plumbing and solder can contaminate your water. Boiling the water can actually increase the lead concentration.

If you’re not sure about your lead levels, they’re easy to check. There are several do-it-yourself kits available. It’s also a good idea to ask your doctor to test young children for lead, even if they seem healthy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Don’t throw that out – eat it! Good food going to waste...

Don’t just eat the orange – eat the peel! 

Most of us toss some really healthy stuff right into the garbage. Melissa Williams of Healthy Living has a list of good garbage we should be eating:

• Orange peels: They’re packed with more nutrients that the fruit itself. Orange zest is excellent in smoothies, salads, vegetable dishes and even deserts.

• Broccoli leaves and stems: Instead of throwing them out, cook them alongside the florets. This will increase the amount of vitamin A in your meal.

• Celery tops: Those leaves are packed with magnesium and calcium. Chop them up and save some for your next soup or stew.

• Onion skins: They’re full of antioxidants. Simmer them in sauces and side dishes and remove before serving.

The next time you decide on a restaurant – pick one with tablecloths. Why it makes a difference...

Can’t decide where to eat? Find a restaurant with tablecloths and maybe some candles...

Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating,” says we’ll eat less and enjoy it more in that atmosphere. In his experiment, he redecorated half of a casual chain restaurant with tablecloths, low lighting, plants, paintings and soft, instrumental music. He left the other half as-is, with bright lights and colors, hard surfaces and loud music. The people in the “fine dining” section took longer to eat, consumed fewer calories and rated the exact same food as more enjoyable. 

You don’t have to break the bank for a fine dining experience. You’ll get the same benefits in small caf├ęs with low lighting and pastel colors. If you’re limited to fast food, opt for the one with more earth tones and a quieter atmosphere. 

Have you been the victim of a ghosting? What it means...

Has your date disappeared? 

You could be the victim of a ghosting, a relationship phenomenon that appears to be on the rise. Andrea Syrtash, relationship and dating expert, says ghosting occurs when someone breaks up with you by just disappearing into thin air. No more calls, no more texts or emails, poof! Andrea says technology has made it much easier to disappear in a relationship because most of us rely on it way too much for communication.

If you’re tempted to ghost someone – don’t. It’s cowardly and disrespectful. Andrea says, be an adult and have the talk. Give that other person some closure and an opportunity to move on and you’ll be giving yourself some peace of mind as well. If you’re the victim of a ghosting – consider it a blessing in disguise. Anyone weak and selfish enough to be a ghost certainly doesn’t deserve any consideration on your end. Be glad they didn’t waste any more of your precious time and pray they don’t ever come back to haunt you.

Who takes the majority of antibiotics in the U.S.? The surprising answer...

You might think most antibiotics wind up treating strep throat, ear infections or other ailments...

...but those account for just a tiny fraction of U.S. consumption. Consumer Reports says 80% of our antibiotics are actually given to animals to make them fatter and to prevent disease. It’s a big problem for us because those animals are prone to developing resistant bacteria. If we get sick from that, we may not respond to antibiotic treatment.

Experts say we should make the extra effort to buy meat without antibiotics – but some of the labeling is bogus. “Antibiotic free” is a misleading label and doesn’t guarantee there are were no antibiotics used. The same goes for meat labeled “natural.” The best bet are labels that say “no antibiotics ever” and also display the USDA seal. “Organic” is another label that indicates there are no antibiotics in there.  

What will you be doing at 2 pm today? Here's a suggestion...

If you’d like today to be extra productive – start over at 2 pm...

Most of us try to motor through a lot of stuff at the start of our day and wind up in an afternoon slump. According to time management expert, Eva Wisnik, 2 pm is the perfect time to assess how much you’ve accomplished. Details and tasks have probably changed since this morning and you might be stuck in your original plan. 

Eva says most people tend to evaluate their day around 5 pm – and then it’s too late. You’re out of time and in crisis mode, putting out fires, or putting things off. Set your alarm for 2pm. Get up and stretch, have another cup of coffee, take a fresh look at the rest of your day and re-prioritize. 

Are you supposed to tip the guy that delivered your furniture?

Most of us tip the standard 20% when we’re dining out – but some other tipping situations can get tricky...

Here are some tipping basics from Real Simple magazine:

• The tip jar: You’re not obligated to toss your change in. Save that for service that goes above and beyond.

• Bar tips: The general rule is one to two dollars a drink, including water.

• Takeout food: If you’re picking it up yourself, there’s no need for a tip unless you had a special request or they throw in extras. If your food is delivered, give 10% or a little less if there is also a delivery fee.

• Hotel tipping: No need to tip for room service unless they went out of their way, as gratuity is almost always included. As for housekeeping, you should tip between two to five dollars per day depending on the size and mess of your room. Leave the tip daily since it's often a different person cleaning your room each time.

• Gas Station Service: You don't need to tip the attendants when filling up your car at a full-service gas station. If they go out of their way or if the weather is extreme, by all means – feel free to tip. 

• Furniture Delivery: If it’s a standard delivery, no tip is required. If it’s a difficult delivery involving stairs or extra effort, tip accordingly.  

Hey guys, the color tie you choose matters. Which one to wear, by occasion...

Men don’t have quite as many fashion decisions to make as women – but choosing a tie is an important one...

Here is some advice from the experts at Brooks Brothers:

• Red ties: These are a good choice if you need to be in charge at that meeting. It’s also considered good luck. Ruby red is the ultimate power tie.

• Blue ties: Blue represents calm and tranquility. It’s a good choice to ease a tense situation. 

• Yellow ties: You need to wear these carefully. Certain tones of yellow can be perceived as weak, while others can be bright and cheery. For business, a deep, gold yellow can be warming and rich and is best paired with a dark blue suit.

• Black ties: These really should be saved for special events because they suggest formal. Black ties with a pattern are a little more versatile.

• Green ties: The right shade can be a symbol of rebirth and growth. It’s a good choice if you’d like to be perceived as a team player.

• Brown ties: This tie lets everyone know you’re practical, down-to-earth and will get the job done.

You put a lot of time and effort into carving that pumpkin. How to make it last longer...

Carving a pumpkin can be great fun – and hard work...

There are a few steps you can take to discourage pumpkin rot and make it last a week longer:

• Freeze your pumpkin first. Leave it in the fridge for a half a day and then let it thaw. The freezing method will delay decomposition.

• Pumpkin pre-wash: It’s covered in bacteria and fungus. Wash all of the dirt off and then spray your gourd inside and out with a bleach and water solution and let it dry. Lemon juice works too.

• Once you’re finished carving, give all exposed and cut surfaces a layer of petroleum jelly.

• If you’re displaying your jack-o-lantern outside, try to find a spot that is out of direct sunlight. You might want to bring it inside at night - lots of nocturnal critters love to snack on pumpkin.

Do you have hairy feet? Why that says about your health...

Check your toes for hair! If you can’t find any, that could be a problem...

Hair on the toes and feet are actually a good thing. Poor circulation, usually caused by vascular disease, can make hair disappear from the feet. Here are some other red flags your feet may be waving regarding your health:

• Frequent foot cramping could mean you’re dehydrated or have a vitamin deficiency.

• Numbness in the feet could indicate damage to the nervous system. The same goes for a tingling or burning sensation.

• Cold feet could indicate you have a thyroid problem or poor circulation. Women over 40 who have cold feet often have an under-functioning thyroid.

If you feel a cold coming on – watch what you eat. Which food could make things worse...

The minute you suspect a cold or virus may be in your near future – check your diet...

What you eat from here on in could help determine the severity and length of that bug. You’ll want to cut back on fatty foods right off the bat and start snacking on the stuff that will actually boost your immune response. Melina Jampolis, author of “The Calendar Diet,” says go for orange, yellow-orange and deep green produce. Those are the highest in the symptom-busting antioxidants you will need right away, including vitamin C, E and beta-carotene.

Drink plenty of fluids too – but skip the juice. The added sugars will hinder white blood cells from fighting infection. Water and tea are your best options.

What are the most popular Halloween candy hand-outs? Let’s ask some trick-or-treaters...

Are you handing out candy this Halloween? 

If you want to preserve your reputation in the neighborhood, you might want to know what those trick-or-treaters really want. Here are the top 10:

10: Candy corn
9. Skittles
8. Butterfinger
7. Twizzlers
6. Reese’s
5. m&ms
4. Life Savers
3. Tootsie Rolls
2. Nerds
1. Snickers

Oddly enough, candy corn made it onto the least favorite list too – in 1st place! Other non-crowd-pleasers are Neco Wafers and waxed candy, like candy lips, marshmallow circus peanuts and toothbrushes.

If you’re sex drive could use a boost – step outside...

Not in the mood? Get some sun...

New research says people who spend more time outdoors every day have significantly higher sex drives. There’s a reason the sun makes us hot. Soaking up the sun has been found to boost sexual desire and even enhance performance. It’s particularly effective for guys because the extra vitamin D also boosts their production of testosterone. 

Rallie McAllister, author of “The Busy Couple’s Guide to Great Sex,” says the more sun we get, the more love we’re likely to make. Some people need more sun than others – but just 15 minutes of daily exposure could be enough to heat things up a bit. 

If you or your child has pinkeye – you might want to wait it out...

The next time you or your child winds up with an annoying case of pinkeye, or conjunctivitis – don’t rush off to the doctor...

According to pediatric ophthalmologist Eric W. Hein, pinkeye usually clears up on its own, without meds, in about 7 to 10 days. The most contagious days are days 3 to 5 - and you might want to keep your child home from school then.

As soon as you spot pinkeye, apply a cool wet compress a few times a day and start using artificial tears. Wash your hands as much as possible and be sure consult the doctor for any green in your pinkeye or for excessive swelling.

There’s something subtle you can do to stand out in a crowd. Getting noticed...

If you’d rather not just blend in with the crowd, smile – or snarl – just be sure to bare your teeth!

German researchers say our instincts will notice teeth in a crowd or group of people faster than anything else. That’s because we’re wired to detect social signals from potential friends and foes before proceeding – and the teeth say it all. They conducted a face-in-the-crowd experiment in which participants were asked to point out the first faces they noticed, and those showing their teeth stood out every time.

They say we’ll get more pleasure buying experiences rather than things. Which experiences to skip...

Experts say we will be happier if we spend money on life experiences rather than material things... 

But you might want to think twice before splurging on a trendy vacation or must-have tickets to an event. According to Dr. Ryan Howell, a psychologist at San Francisco State University, when people buy life experiences to impress others, it wipes out the well-being they receive from the purchase.

Dr. Howell says we you need to ask yourself why you are buying something. If the experience is in line with your desires and values, you’ll probably get your money’s worth. If the experience is to gain recognition from others, you’ll probably feel cheated – and lonelier when it’s all over.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween stores are popping up in malls and shopping centers. Why you might want to skip those...

Where did that Halloween store come from?

They start popping up about a month before the big night and will disappear just as mysteriously. According to Christina Norsig, author of “Pop-Up Retailer,” you’ll probably find what you need somewhere else, for less. She says the temporary nature of pop-up stores create a sense of excitement and urgency – and that could cost you. While pop-ups usually do have a wider selection of merchandise, it’s worth looking around. You still have time to find the same stuff elsewhere, or online, for a LOT less.

If you do get sucked in, buyer beware. Ask where or when you could return any faulty merchandise. Just keep in mind that the workers and managers in these pop-up stores are often temporary and may not know the company policies.  

If you’ve heard that taking multi-vitamins may prevent cancer – there’s more to that story...

Multivitamins have been getting a lot of credit lately...

A recent study suggests that taking multivitamins may help prevent cancer. Before you start swallowing them, there’s more to the story. The participants in the study were male physicians, age 50 or older – a very small sampling of a specific group. While there was an 8% reduction in cancer risk for the group, other larger clinical trials have had mixed results and have even suggested that multi-vitamins could increase other health risks. 

Experts still recommend that we get our nutrients from foods whenever possible. If you do need supplements, it’s a good idea to have your doctor help determine which ones you need, rather than defaulting to a multivitamin that could have some elements you don’t need.

Why do people post political signs in their yards?

You think you know your neighbors – until that political sign sprouts up in their front yard...

Todd Maske, author of “Not in My Front Yard!,” surveyed people in Franklin County, Ohio to determine why homeowners are really displaying that sign. Those with yard signs credited “showing pride” as their top motivation, at 93%. “Letting the neighbors know” received 75% favorability, which included keeping up with or opposing the Jones’ sign.

The yard sign survey also gives us some insight into your neighbor’s personality. The typical political personality profile included characteristics such as partisanship, ideological extremity and political activism.

The next time you toss out a prescription medicine bottle – destroy the evidence. How it could come back to haunt you...

Most of us just toss those empty medicine bottles in the trash without giving it much thought...

It might seem harmless but that could put you at risk. There is a lot of important information on that label and it really needs to be removed before you toss it out. Your name, prescription number, pharmacy and doctor are usually all listed on there. That could give some unauthorized access to any number of people, from family members and friends, to someone working in your house, to the person recycling or sifting through your garbage.

So what could they do with that sensitive information? For starters, there’s a chance they could use the pharmacy’s automated refill line, or find a drive through pharmacy that doesn’t require ID. Not only could they wind up with your meds – you could have a big problem with your next refill.

Could sugar be making you stupid?

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it may be nibbling away at your brain power...

New research is suggesting that a sugary-sweet diet, high in fructose, could impair memory. To determine this, scientists used the good old rats-in-a-maze experiment. The four groups of rodents were given different levels of sugar in their diets and, sure enough, the high-sugar group came in dead-last in the rat-race. It seems the fructose interfered with their ability to think clearly, learn and remember.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why are human feet getting bigger and bigger?

Our feet our getting bigger - by the decade...

According to the National Shoe Retailers Association, shoe sizes for both men and women have grown about a size and a half over the past 3 decades. For women, that average size 7 is now an 8 ½. Evolution experts say our food is to blame for the big foot syndrome. The more we eat, the bigger we get – and the bigger our feet need to be to accommodate the extra weight. 

Another factor is what we’re eating through childhood. Kids who eat high-density stuff during puberty, such as pizza and processed foods, are stimulating their growth hormones. Those kids are likely to end up with bigger grown-up waist sizes, hands and feet.  

Feeling stressed out? Have some eggs...

If you’re having a bad day, have some eggs...

Any eggs will do, as long as they’ve got the yolk. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that egg yolks can be very effective at treating stress by suppressing our production of cortisol. Eggs have vitamin B12 and folic acid and choline – all of which stimulate the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.

Recent studies have even found that working some eggs into their diet can provide some relief for people suffering from SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The next time you turn on a water faucet – turn on your brain too...

There is a simple trick we can do a few times a day to keep us balanced and level-headed...

According to Marsha Lucas, author of “Rewire Your Brain for Love,” we can rest and reset our brains in just 6 seconds, which improves attitude and focus. Here’s how it works:

• Identify something you do several times a day, such as turning on a water faucet.
• Each time you do that, it’s your cue to do your 6 second mental reset.
• Breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds.
• Say to yourself: “My mind is alert, my body is calm.”
• Exhale for 3 seconds and relax your face, jaw and neck.

That’s it, you’re done. Dr. Lucas says if we get in the habit of doing this several times every day, we’ll be less prone to anger and frustration and have a better sense of balance and calm.   

You can give your skin a healthy glow – just by eating something purple...

The next time you’re in the produce isle – pick something purple...

According to Dr. Ruthie Harper, founder of SkinShift, our skin is soaking up free radicals and environmental pollutants all the time. Luckily, there are some foods that can neutralize those elements and help restore a healthy glow. She says purple produce has that power. 

Purple potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, raspberries and blueberries are all rich in antioxidants that help improve circulation. Eat those regularly and you’ll improve the blood flow that delivers nutrients to the skin to form new cells, collagen and elastin.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do you use the vibrate function on your phone? Why you might want to turn that off...

The vibrate function on your phone is handy if you’re in a quiet zone – but it’s also killing your battery...

Vibrate actually uses more battery than ringtones and other sounds. Save that function for when you really need it. 

If you’re a big texter – there’s another feature you can change to save some battery. Check your settings for the haptic feedback, or keyboard clicks and turn those off. You’ll be surprised at how much longer your battery will last on one charge. 

What you have for breakfast lunch can ruin the rest of your day. Sleep-inducing foods to avoid...

If you’re having fast food for lunch today, schedule a nap this afternoon...

Your body will have to work extra hard trying to digest all of that grease and fat which will leave you feeling fatigued. Here are some other foods that could knock you out:

• Frozen waffles: They’ve got a high glycemic index that cause your blood sugars to soar, then crash.

• Peanuts: They’ve got niacin which encourages your body to produce sleep-friendly serotonin.

• Fried fish: This is a double dose of drowsy with niacin and the hard-to-digest batter.

• Greens: If they’re boiled or steamed, the relaxing chlorophyll compounds in there get stronger.

• Turkey: It’s true. High amounts of tryptophan can leave you feeling super relaxed.

Looking for a new job when you’ve already got one can be tricky. How to apply, on the sly...

Interviewing for a new job when you’ve already got one can be risky business...

According to Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies, Inc., you still have some options if you can’t use your current boss as a reference. She says most potential employers understand that you may not want to put your current position in jeopardy before landing the new job. If possible, confide in a trusted colleague that can speak to your performance and ask to use them as a reference. Claman says many organizations are willing to make you an offer contingent on good references.

As soon as you get the good news, go straight to your boss. You’ll need to persuade him or her to give you a positive reference. Be prepared to give 2 weeks to a month notice, depending on your responsibilities. Both your current boss and your future boss will respect you more for it.

If you or someone you know is a teacher – have I got some deals for you...

Hey teachers – if you need an excuse to go shopping, here are several...

A lot of stores out there offer some significant discounts for teachers. Just show your school ID and enjoy these perks:

• 15% off at the Limited
• 15% off at Ann Taylor Loft
• 15% off at J. Crew
• 15 – 20% at Barnes and Nobel
• 50% off the normal subscription cost on home delivery of The New York Times

Teachers can save on computers too. Dell gives teachers 2 to 4% off retail price and Apple offers a lot of discounts for educators, like a free iPod touch with the purchase of a computer.

For more teacher discounts, check out TeachForAmerica.org.

If you’d like to stop smoking – I’ll tell you where to start...

If you smoke in your car – rolling down the windows isn’t good enough...

A new study has found that drivers who smoke in their cars are exposing their passengers, and themselves, to super high levels of even more dangerous second-hand smoke. You don’t even need to be smoking at the time for exposure. Those harmful pollution particles stick to the car’s interior and stay there. 

Smokers who used the air conditioning or rolled down their windows for ventilation were still at risk. That second-hand smoke will find its way into your car’s ventilation system and keep recycling it through the cabin. If you’d like to stop smoking, or at least cut down – your car is a good place to start. If you’re just not there yet, pull over and step out of the car before you smoke.

Monday, October 15, 2012

There is some bad news that will affect women more than men...

Bad news for women: Bad news takes a bigger toll on you...

A recent study found that most women have a much stronger response to bad news than men do. Researchers had men and women read some bad news about accidents and murders and then measured their responses and their hormone levels. The women took the news much harder. They paid more attention and remembered disturbing details for longer.

The lead author of the study explained that women are wired to be more primed for danger and more sensitive to their own survival and that of their children. They tend to take in the bad news and associate it with their own lives. Men were more likely to cut to the chase, shrug their shoulders and skip to the sports section.