Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Now playing baseball is bad for our kids?

Youth sports and physical activity is good for our kids, right? 

Well now there’s a concern about that. Healthy researchers staked out the stands and secretly observed some shocking dugout behavior. Many of the players were gorging themselves on high-calorie treats, nuts, gum and sugary sports drinks for the duration of the game. Compound that with several games a week and a lot of bench time and those little sluggers could be getting bigger by the inning.

The bleacher creatures were observed too and were just as guilty. Siblings, parents and grandparents were seen snatching up unhealthy contraband in the form of hot dogs, ice cream, soda and candy at the concession stand while waiting for their favorite player’s at-bat. 

Have a cup of strong coffee. Why you’ll be happier...

Coffee makes us happy - there’s scientific proof. 

Coffee drinkers suffer less depression according to a study by Harvard School of Public Health. The researchers found that women who drank four cups of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to be depressed. Another Harvard study found that coffee drinkers are also less likely to commit suicide. 

There have been countless study on the benefits of coffee and the list goes on and on. Our favorite drink can reduce the risk of diabetes, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease and even help destroy gallstones. Who shouldn’t be guzzling coffee? People with high blood pressure, cholesterol or ulcers. 

Pediatricians would like to ban a favorite childhood activity.

If you think trampolines with protective screens are safe – think again. 

About one million people visited hospital emergency rooms as a result of trampoline accidents over the past 10 years – and many doctors would like to see them banned. That netting may keep the jumpers in but it doesn’t prevent injury. The most common mishaps are broken fingers, hands, forearms and elbows, followed by broken legs and ankles. Sadly, the other injuries included broken spines, ribs and necks. Older kids are especially at risk. They jump higher and attempt more flips. They also tend to compete with their friends or little ones and are more at risk dangerous counter-bounces and midair collisions. 

If you have a trampoline and still aren’t convinced to get rid of it, you’d better check your homeowners insurance to be sure it covers trampoline injuries. Some insurance companies may even decline or cancel a policy with a trampoline on the premises. Others will add a nuisance surcharge or exclude coverage on the trampoline, which means you’ll be responsible for any medical bills.

Do you drive with your fuel warning light on? How far you’ll get...

Do you know how much gas is in the reserve tank of your car? 

It varies by vehicle but generally it’s somewhere between 1 and 2 gallons. Most cars will be able to go about another 40 miles once that light comes on IF you’re traveling at a moderate, steady speed. If you’re on the highway, you’ll want to slow down if you’ve got a long way to go. You’ll get about 10 miles more per gallon at 55 than at 65. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beans are the notorious musical “fruit.” A few more noisemakers...

Beans are infamous for their ability to create natural gas but some other foods are just as bad, if not worse. 

Depending on the food - odor and velocity of flatulence can vary. Some common humdingers include:

• Grains like whole wheat, barley and wheat bran. 

• Vegetable bombs include Brussels sprouts, asparagus, tomatoes and turnips.

• Legumes like peanuts and peas. Navy and lima beans are big offenders.

• Fruits including apricots, grapes, peaches and pears are particularly musical.

Everyone is different and some people just produce more gas than others. If that’s you, identify your triggers and eat accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t hold it in. That can cause bloating, indigestion and heartburn. 

Ronald McDonald has some new clothes.

He’s keeping the big red shoes – but Ronald McDonald has finally changed his clothes. 

He’ll be showing off his new look soon on social media and TV commercials. Spoiler alert: The baggy yellow jumper is gone. Now, he’ll be wearing McYellow cropped cargo pants with a vest and red sport coat. 

"Selfies ... here I come!” said McDonald. “It's a big world and now, wherever I go and whatever I do ... I'm ready to show how fun can make great things happen." 

Is your partner in love with Twitter? Uhoh.

Twitter users are more likely to cheat on their partners. 

That’s what a recent study found which looked at Twitter users of all different ages and their relationships. It seems the more they tweet, the more conflict they experienced with their partner. Heavy tweeters in the study had higher rates of break-ups, physical and emotional cheating and even divorce. 

A previous study found that couples who use Facebook were also at some risk but not quite as much. That’s because it’s more common for both people to be interacting within the same social circles on Facebook while Twitter users tend to stray beyond the mutual friends.

Heading to a yard sale? Look for these items...

If you spot any art at that yard sale, pull over. 

That’s one great thing to grab, regardless of whether you like how it looks. Frames are expensive and people often look right past really nice ones because they don’t like what’s in it. Some other items to keep your eye out for include office supplies, tools, wooden toys and costume jewelry. Broaches are a great find. They’re back in style and they don’t make them like they used to. 

Some items to avoid picking up out of someone else’s yard include bicycle helmets, car seats, tires and cribs. They may have outdated safety standards. TVs, computers, kitchen gadgets and other electronic equipment are always a gamble too.

Monday, April 28, 2014

If you’ve got allergies – lose the hair gel.

There is something you can do to make yourself less attractive to pollen during peak allergy season. 

Lose the hair gel – or any other sticky substance in your hair. It’s like a pollen magnet. The same goes for body lotion. Here are a few more allergy season survival tips:

• Keep your car windows closed no matter how nice it is outside.

• Clean your desk off at work. Dusty keyboards and monitors will just aggravate your allergies.

• Keep saline spray handy. This really helps to flush the pollen out of your sinuses and you can use it as often as you like.

• Keep taking your medicine. If you have an allergy-free day, you’re not necessarily out of the woods.

Some canned foods are actually healthier than fresh.

Canned food may not taste as good as fresh – but in some cases, the level of nutrients is higher. 

The canning process can have a positive effect on some of our favorite pantry items:

• Tomatoes: Levels of lycopene go up when tomatoes are heated and canned. Lycopene helps to protect against heart disease and some cancers.

• Corn: Canned corn has higher levels of lutein, which is good for the eyes. The same is true for canned spinach. 

• Peaches: Canned peaches are in season year round and have more vitamin C and folate than the fresh variety.

• Beans: A can of beans has just as much fiber and protein, but less of the gassy compounds.

• Wild salmon: It’s less expensive by the can and retains its levels of Omega-3s, calcium and vitamin D. Canned sardines and albacore tuna have fairly high levels of nutrients too.

• If your opening cans for health, just be sure to check the ingredients. Canned food is notoriously high in sodium and sugar and you’ll want to choose cans without those additives.

Could you fall victim to a freak accident? Some common maneuvers that could end your life...

Tempted to shake that vending machine? 

You could be flirting with death. That’s one freak accident that takes an average three lives a year. Avoid these moves if you’d like to live longer:

Don’t mow hills side to side. The majority of lawnmower deaths occur from the mower toppling over onto the driver.

Hold the ladder. 700 people meet their fate annually falling from a ladder. The biggest mistake is carrying something while climbing.

Don’t cross that stream – until you toss a twig in. Gauge the current first and take the backpack off. A wet backpack can drag you under.

Stay on the dock. Electric shock drowning is believed to be widespread. This occurs when boats with electrical equipment improperly docked pose an electrocution risk to anyone entering the water there.

If you see a bear – freeze. Resist the urge to run which can trigger a wild animal’s attack instinct. Carry pepper spray if you’re on their turf.

Can you spare 100 seconds? Swing your arms.

The next time you get a headache or feel stressed – swing your arms. 

Arm swinging has been used for centuries in ancient Chinese healing. It’s good for the heart and can help to relieve headache, anxiety, stress and insomnia by redirecting blood flow and releasing insomnia. Try it for 100 seconds:

Stand up straight and relax your face and mind. Extend your arms out straight in front of you. Let them drop and swing naturally behind you. Now, keep that pendulum motion going for 100 swings. Breathe normally while you swing and you’ll feel the tension leaving your body.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ask for a lime and you may get a lemon.

You’ll see more lemons and fewer limes in bars and restaurants these days. 

That’s because there’s a lime shortage. The Mexican lime crop is in trouble – and that’s where 95% of our limes come from. Severe weather and disease has caused a shortage and criminal cartels are putting the squeeze on valuable supply. The limes that do make it to U.S. grocery stores probably won’t look as nice as usual – and they’ll cost more. Last year, a lime cost about .29 cents. Right now, they may cost as much as $1 each.

The limes you do find will most likely be smaller than you’re used to. Mexican growers have been forced to pull them off the trees early in an effort to protect them from lime crime rings who are ravaging the crops for profit while prices are high. Mexican lime supply is expected to recover in about four or five months.

Fun in the sun is great. Too much fun in the sun can be dangerous.

Did you know that people who drink are more prone to skin cancer? 

Those are the findings of a recent study in the British Journal of Dermatology. You don’t have to be a heavy drinker to be at risk, although that does increase the odds. Light drinkers have a 10% increased risk, moderate drinkers 18% and heavy drinkers a whopping 55% increased risk of developing melanoma.

The danger is two-fold. Of course we’re less likely to take precautions in the sun once we’ve had a few drinks. About one-fifth of sunburns in American adults are attributable to alcohol consumption. But the researchers also found that regular alcohol consumption leaves our skin sun-sensitive and prone to UV damage.

If you know you’ll be partying in the sun, slather on the sunscreen ahead of time and set a timer on your phone to reapply once the party is in full swing. 

Do you know what drives your coworkers crazy?

Could you be driving your co-workers insane? 

Yes, if you’re guilty of any of these seven worst open-office offenses from Monster.com:

• Making an unreasonable amount of noise. Without fail, the first annoying office habit of those surveyed was noise. That would include eating loud or crunchy food, slurping coffee, listening to voicemail on speakerphone, talking too loudly on the phone, popping gum and noisy tics such as coughing, sniffing and throat-clearing. 

• The same goes for conference-calls. Distracting background noise is annoying. If you’d rather not have everyone hear what’s going on in the room or your crinkly bag of pretzels, lose the speakerphone and invest in a quality headset.

• Being a source of strong smells. Consider your coworkers tomorrow before you load up on garlic tonight. Body odor and cologne can be nauseating too. Ask a trusted friend or family member how you smell.

• Excessive chit-chat. Your hilarious story about your weekend might be great, but cut it short if you notice your coworker’s eyes drifting back to their work, calendar or clock.

• Doing things that gross people out. Excuse yourself from the shared space if you feel compelled to clip your nails or pick your nose. If you’ve got a cold or allergies, be considerate and assure your coworkers you’ll try your best to keep your distance and your germs in check.

• Touching too much. Some people do not like to be touched. If you feel compelled to poke, hug, tickle or grab or kiss a fellow employee, don’t.

• Space invaders. Teamwork is nice. Touching and borrowing other people’s equipment is not. Helping yourself or leaning over and touching things on a coworker’s desk is rude without asking permission first.

If you’d like to really clean your Tupperware, here’s a great trick...

Tupperware and other plastic containers stain easily – especially if you put tomato sauce in there. 

Soaking them in detergent might help but that often leaves them with a soapy smell and flavor. Coffee grounds to the rescue. Just add a drop of detergent and a heaping spoonful of used coffee grounds to the container and scrub it around until the stains disappear, then rinse with warm water. The grounds help absorb and remove the greasy residue and smell much better than soap alone. 

Wedding season is upon us. If you’re invited to one, don’t do this –

If you’ll be attending a wedding anytime soon, know the wedding guest rules. 

Wedding planner Sarah Pease has some definite don’ts:

• Don't deviate from a schedule: Whether you're helping or attending, stick to the timeline as not to throw the carefully planned event off.

• Don't wing a wedding speech: People who say they're just going to wing it crash and burn every time. And keep it short. Five minutes might not sound like much but it’s too long. 

• Don't wear anything resembling white if you're not the bride.

• Don't stiff the bartender. You should still tip the bartender even at an open bar because they're making your drink right there. It's a nice service and they're there for a long time.

• Don't get drunk. You’ll just become a hassle for the bride and groom, the staff, or your date.

• Don't complain about the food. If it’s not good, just get over it. Don’t do anything to upset the bride and groom on their day. 

• Don't monopolize the bride and groom. Cocktail hour is a great time to spend two minutes with the couple. Don't track them down and try to spend 30 minutes catching up. 

• Don't get too aggressive with the bouquet toss. Emotions can run high if you think about it as a literal sign for who's getting married next. And don't tackle anyone. It's not a contact sport.

• Don't steal souvenirs from the wedding decorations. Check with the venue before you grab. Don’t ask the bride or groom, that’s awkward. 

• Resist the urge to take and post pictures of the event before the bride and groom are even down the aisle. It’s their day; let them be the first to share it. 

If your relationship is on the rocks – you need movie therapy.

Did you know watching a movie can actually help your marriage? 

It’s true, according to new researchers from the University of Rochester. They say having couples watch movies and then discuss the on-screen relationship issues afterward can sometimes be just as effective as more traditional relationship therapy. Some movies make for better therapy than others. A few on their suggested list include some classics like Love Story, Gone With the Wind, Barefoot in the Park and The Out-of-Towners. There’s also American Beauty, Children of a Lesser God and On Golden Pond. If your relationship could use a little humor, try Meet the Fockers, The Big Wedding and The Five-Year Engagement.

You can learn how to try movie therapy at home, participate in the study or just jump straight to the list of suggested films at www.couples-research.com.

You need some charcoal briquettes – even if you don’t have a charcoal grill.

You need some charcoal – for your bathroom. 

They can really help to keep mold and mildew in check. If you don’t have a bathroom fan and would rather not leave the window open year round, a bowl of charcoal briquettes in the bathroom will help suck some of that moisture out of the air, keeping it off the walls and ceiling. 

Just put your briquettes in an attractive bowl or container, out of reach of kids and pets, and let them do the work. Your bathroom briquettes can work double duty. Charcoal also helps to absorb odors. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The next time you get into bed with your partner – take a ruler.

If you share a bed, the distance between you and your partner could be revealing, according to a recent study. 

Of the 500 participating couples, those who reported they slept touching each other also reported happier relationships than those who didn’t. And it seems the farther apart the couples slept, the less satisfied they were apt to be in their relationship. 

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in England says it’s worth noting that distance in bed. If that gap is increasing, it could suggest the quality of the relationship is weakening. 
The study also found that 42 percent of the couples surveyed sleep back-to-back, while 31 percent sleep facing in the same direction. Just 4 percent say they sleep facing each other. 12 percent of the couples sleet less than an inch apart and 2 percent measured that gap at 30 inches or more. 

Move over omega-3 – omega-7 is in town. What it is and why you need it...

Omega-3 fatty acids are famously good for us and an important part of a healthy diet. 

But now there’s another healthy omega on the horizon – omega-7. Nutritional experts say omega-7 has several health benefits including the power to control appetite.

There are omega-7 supplements on the market but you can get it through food too. Cold water fish are one source. They include salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout. Macadamia nuts are also rich in omega-7, as are sea buckthorn berries, an orange-colored, grape-sized fruit which can be found online or in health food stores.

Is your dog or cat shedding like crazy? How to tame that...

Spring is here and it’s time for your pet to lose that winter coat. 

If you’d like to get out from under all that fur, there are a few things you can do to keep shedding under control:

• Brush your pet. You’ll need to do that every day during peak shedding season.

• Try a fatty acid supplement for pets. It helps keep the coat healthy and reduce shedding.

• Use an oatmeal bath once a week to keep the skin and coat in good shape.

• Consider adding eggs and meat to their diet a few times a week. Unprocessed whole foods add more moisture into your dog's meals and results in better skin and coat. 

Imagine arriving at your summer rental and it’s not there? How that could happen...

Now is the time to book a summer rental home. 

There are some amazing deals out there but that dream house could be just that – a dream. Consumer Reports says scammers are getting in on the rental industry because online bookings from far away make for prime pretend real estate. If you can’t see the rental you’re considering in person, take these precautions:

• Use a reputable listing site such that authenticates properties. FlipKey, HomeAway and VRBO are good options. 

• Check the legality of the rental by searching with the terms the town with the terms “tenant rights” and “short-term rentals.”

• Use Zillow and Google Earth and Street View to make sure the property resembles the pictures on the listing site and isn’t for sale.

• Get the rental agreement in writing—and read the terms. 

• Pay with a credit card and never by cashier’s check, Liberty Reserve, MoneyGram, Western Union, or wire transfer.

Don’t just have a salad – have a super salad.

Eating salad is good. Eating salad with watercress is even better. 

There are several salad greens that can really up the nutritional value. According to Frances Largeman-Roth, registered dietician and author of “Eating in Color,” most green veggies are less than 50 calories per cup and are packed with fiber and nutrients. The old standbys like lettuce and spinach are fine, but you might want to consider tossing in some less common varieties like watercress, Swiss chard or dandelion greens. They’ve got additional nutritional values such as vitamins A, C and K and can add a new flavorful twist to your standard salad, sandwich or vegetable dish.

If you’re like most people, you’re wasting time on email.

Is your email stressing you out? 

Email overload elevates blood pressure and heart rate. They’re more stressful than meetings and phone calls. Mashable has some tips to get your email under control:

1. Set a Time Limit. Answering email is just one part of work. That's why you should determine how much time you want to spend in your inbox on a given day, and don’t exceed it. Dedicate 15-minute blocks every two hours to staying on top of email without letting it take over your day.

2. Know Your Etiquette. The average time it takes to respond to an email is greater than the time it took to create it. So the time you spend writing emails is double for your recipients. 

3. Prioritize. Not all emails are created equal. Some need to be read and responded to right away. Others should be archived or deleted in bulk. 

4. Don’t sign up for Junk. When signing up for a new web service, opt out of updates. When given an option to get a real time, daily, or weekly summary of any kind, choose the least frequent option. Also, stop signing up for newsletters you’re never going to read.

5. Don’t Open Mail Twice. As you open each email, you give yourself only five options: delete, delegate, respond, defer, or do. This process keeps you from wasting time by re-reading the same information.

Most back injuries are fairly predictable. How to avoid them...

“I threw my back out.” It’s a common phrase and a common injury. 

About 80% will do something to injure our backs sooner or later. Here are six moves that can put you in that group:

• The lethal lift. You bend down to pick something up and it’s heavier than you though. That sudden contraction of your back muscles can result in instant strain. Test for weight before you lift and give your back some warning. 

• The overhead ouch. Maneuvering carry-on luggage into the overhead bin requires more than a lift. That angling, stuffing move is what will likely do the damage. Pack light or check the bag.

• Reclining regret. That soft chair or sofa might feel great at first – but it’s hard on your back. There is no real support and your back muscles stay contracted. If it’s your favorite seat, that damage builds up. Don’t sit in any one soft spot for too long.

• The car trunk trauma. The bend in and lift motion getting something out of your trunk can be debilitating. You need to get right up against the car before you lift.

• The twist and shout. This stabbing pain can strike when you bend over and twist simultaneously. Be sure you’re positioned squarely over the object before you bend over to reach it.

• The digging damage. Shoveling anything from snow to dirt or gravel can leave you flat on your back. You must warm up your muscles with a brisk walk or some gentle stretching to avoid giving your back the old heave ho. 

Do you talk too much? Let's find out...

Do you often wonder if you talk too much? 

If so, you probably do. Here are few tell-tale signs that you need to keep your talking in check:

1. People tell you that you talk too much. This is really a bad sign. People hardly ever tell someone that he or she talks too much. 

2. You love to hear yourself talk. When you're in a conversation, the best part is when you get to speak. In fact, you can't wait until the other person stops speaking, so you can start. You’re probably not listening to what the other person says because you're thinking about what you're going to say.

3. Body language can provide a definite clue that you talk too much. If people turn their side to you or seem anxious to leave, you’re talking too much. Once you start losing eye contact, you need to take a break from talking.

4. People make certain sounds when you open your mouth. They start sighing, taking deep breaths or violent coughing.

5. You notice people crossing the street when you approach them and get the feeling they're pretending not to see you. Guess what? They are.

6. When you do have a captive audience, you get cut off in the middle of a sentence. If people often tell you they need to go to the bathroom, have a meeting or need to make a call, you’re talking too much. 

Do you know what doctors don’t like? Smelly feet.

Doctors are people too – and like any professionals, they’ve got some pet peeves:

• Complaining about other doctors. The more you gripe, the less they want to deal with you.

• Free advice. If you see your doctor at church or in the supermarket, skip the medical questions.

• Garlic and onions. If you know you’re going to the doctor, hold off on the really stinky foods before you go.

• Personal hygiene counts. If at all possible, take a shower, brush your teeth and wear clean socks.

• Your cell phone. Silence it please. Talking, texting or checking the phone is ridiculous during an appointment.

Nurses have some pet peeves too. At the top of the list “you should have been a doctor.” While you may intend it as a compliment, most nurses chose to be a nurse and worked very hard to get there.

Have you had a good laugh today? Why that should be your top priority...

Have you got a good joke or a funny picture? Share the wealth! 

Laughter can work wonders for us and experts say we need at least one really good chuckle a day. In a recent Loma Linda University study, researchers split 20 adults into two groups. One group got to laugh at funny videos for 20 minutes while the other group had to sit in a not-so-funny environment. They analyzed the saliva of everyone afterwards and the laughing group had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol zaps us of memory and can weaken the immune system. By lowering that with laughter on a daily basis we can improve our overall physical and mental health, not to mention our mood.

Facebook is rolling out a borderline creepy feature soon.

How would you like your Facebook friends to know where you are at all times? 

You’ll have that option soon. Of course you’ll have to opt into this new feature called Nearby Friends, and once you do, you can run but you cannot hide. Once you opt in, Facebook will be able to track you at all time, even when you’re not logged in. 

While Nearby Friends won’t reveal your exact location, your friends will be able to see what general vicinity you’re in, in case they’d like to find or poke you in person. You’ll be able to choose which groups of friends you’d like to be visible too.

You know the rules of applying sunscreen? They’ve changed.

The rule of applying some sort of sunscreen everyday has not changed - but how we do it has. 

Here are the new recommendations:

• Forget the shot glass amount. The new rule is the house painting analogy. Two coats, top to bottom.

• SPF 15 and 30 is out – SPF 50 is in. If you’ll be in the sun for any length of time, that’s what you’ll need.

• The hours of 10 am to 2 pm are still peak – but early and late day sun is damaging too.

• Don’t get sunscreen in your eyes – that’s still good advice. However, we MUST have a sunscreen over our eyes. Wraparound sunglasses are the way to go to reduce risk of damage to the sensitive skin around the eyes and ocular melanoma, which is on the rise.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Should you call the police if you lose your phone? Yes.

Losing a phone can be heartbreaking – but do you really need to call the police? 

It’s a good idea. If you have a smartphone with a lot of valuable information stored in there, you’ll need to file a police report in order to put a freeze on your credit. If any fraudulent charges are made with information obtained through that stolen phone, you’ll be much better protected with that police report in hand. You’ll also want to change all of your important passwords in the event that your phone is lost or stolen.

Before you lose your phone, consider taping or marking an email address somewhere on the device. Most people are sympathetic and are happy to return your phone if they know how. Contact information on the outside of your phone will make it easier if your phone is locked, damaged or has a dead battery.

When the carnival comes to town – where do the workers sleep?

If you love to travel, meet new people and see new places – the carnival is hiring. 

Carnival season generally runs from April to October and carny workers have quite the life. Its low pay and long hours. Carnies work from early in the morning until late at night – and set up or tear down days are especially tough. In most cases, carnival workers live, eat and shower in trailers. Those without trailers may have to bunk down in a car, tent or in one of the rides.

Experienced carnies make about $26,000 a year and even have their own language called Carny, Ciazarn or Kizzarney. It’s a type of carnival Pig Latin that lets them talk among themselves without the customers or rookie carnies understanding. 

If you love a hot shower, your hair has a request...

Do you love a hot, steamy shower? 

You might want to invest in a shower cap. Hot water is really hard on the hair. Not only does it wash away the protective oils, it throws your scalp into overdrive which can damage the roots and increase shedding. Showering with hot water can also leave your hair dry, brittle and frizzy.

A simple shower cap is an easy fix. Enjoy that hot shower and spare your hair. When it comes time to wash your hair and scalp, do your head a favor and turn the temperature down to warm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

East lilies are here – but be careful if you have a pet.

If you are giving or receiving beautiful Easter lilies this weekend, keep this in mind. 

The FDA is reminding pet owners that Easter lilies are toxic to cats. Unfortunately, cats may be attracted to them. Even just licking a few pollen grains off their nose or fur could pose a serious problem. Some lilies are toxic to dogs too.

If you have lilies in the house, keep them up high and away from your pets. If you’re giving lilies as a gift, be sure to let that person know about the potential danger to their pets.

Is it okay to use expired medicine?

Most of us would be afraid to use medication long after its expiration date. 

However, a recent study found that many prescription drugs stay potent for years past that date, as long as they’re unopened and have been stored properly. The researchers analyzed eight prescription drugs between 28 and 40 years old and found their potency had not changed at all.

Because drug manufacturers are extra conservative with expiration dates, they err on the side of caution, and so should you, especially for drugs used to manage a chronic or serious health condition. However, don’t be too quick to toss that standard pain reliever or decongestant. They should be fine for up to five years past the expiration date. 

If you’re trying to lose weight – you need these items in your kitchen.

If you’d like to lose weight or just cut back on what you don’t need, there are a few items you do need, in your kitchen.

Dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot has the basics:

• Non-stick pan. You won’t have to grease it with oil or butter.

• Measuring tools. You’ve got them so use them. Most of us pour about 3 cups of cereal when the serving size should be 1.

• Spritzer bottle. Olive oil is good, but one tablespoon has a lot of fat and calories. Spritzing makes a lot less go a lot farther.

• Tall glasses. We pour less into a tall slender glass. Tall drinks are more psychologically satisfying too.

Why do we lose our keys? Two reasons...

Can’t remember where you put your keys - or your wallet? 

You’re not alone. The average person spends at least 10 minutes a day looking for things they have misplaced – keys and wallets top the list. After those items, most of us waste time looking for our car, shoes, phone, glasses or the remote control.

The reason we misplace stuff is usually because we’re focused on the next task at hand. The reason we can’t find them later is because we’ve changed our state of mind. For instance, you might be hungry and headed for the kitchen when you put your keys or remote control down. You’re no longer hungry when you start to look, so you’ve lost that mental association. That’s why retracing your steps and your feelings can take you back physically and mentally – and help you find the item.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The next time it rains, check your property for sink holes.

Sinkholes are more common in some parts of the U.S. but they can happen anywhere. 

Any number of factors can cause them from natural phenomenon to disintegrating stumps or debris buried by developers. The next time it rains, look for pools of water on your property that you never noticed before. That could indicate the ground below is giving way. Some other sinkhole signs include:

• Windows or doors are suddenly harder to open.
• Foundation cracks – especially in a stair step pattern.
• Vegetation is suddenly dying in one area

Sinkholes come in all sizes. Smaller sinkholes, less than a few feet across, can be filled with sand or soil. Keep your eye on it. If it continues to grow, or is larger than a few feet, call in an expert.

Should you buy one of those pocket hoses – or go old school?

Those new pocket hoses are easy-to-handle and improving in quality. 

But if you need a hose you can rely on – stick with rubber. A lot of hoses may look the same but there’s actually a big difference. There’s nothing like a rubber hose. They’re more durable and wont kink and split as easily as vinyl or mesh. Also, check the end before you buy. The best hoses have a collar and an octagonal brass coupling which prevents breaks and leaks.

Finally, get the right length. Longer hoses are more expensive and a lot heavier and harder to wrangle if you don’t need the length. And the longer the hose, the lower the water pressure will be. 

Want to improve your relationship? Eat something.

If you’d like to get along better with your spouse, don’t let yourselves get too hungry. 

It turns out that hunger can trigger and escalate arguments and discontent. That’s because when you’re hungry, you’re blood sugar is down and your anger levels go up. 

An Ohio State study put the theory to the test. They followed 107 married couples for 21 days. The couples were asked to record their satisfaction with their partner along with levels of anger and number of arguments. They also had to measure their blood sugar twice a day. At the end of the study, they found a direct correlation between low blood sugar and arguments.

Do you eat your chocolate bunny ears or feet first?

Ears first. That’s how you’re supposed to eat a chocolate bunny. 

According to the most recent available data on Easter behavior, 76% of Americans start with the ears. 5% go for the bunny feet first and 4% prefer the tail. Milk chocolate bunnies still rule at 65%, followed by dark then white chocolate.

So what about Peeps? Yellow are still the most popular, followed by pink, lavender, blue and white. When it comes to jelly beans, 70% of kids say they eat them one at a time. Boys are more likely to eat them by the handful than girls. Favorite flavor - cherry. Least favorite – black licorice. 

The chocolate bunny is still the favorite Easter basket treat, followed by Peeps, jelly beans, the Cadbury Egg and Robins Eggs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

You might want to set aside some time this week to – change ALL your passwords.

Finished with your taxes? Good. Now go change all your passwords. 

It’s a daunting task but technology experts say we really need to do it now. They have apparently found a problem with encryption used to keep email, social networking and e-commerce transactions safe and secure. The weak spot is called Heartbleed and it’s been out there for a while. 

If you dread having to remember a slew of new passwords, try this trick. Think of a sentence for each account that you won’t forget. Use the first letter of each word as your password. Throw in a digit or special character to make it super-secure.

What’s the most influential word in the English language?

Hey you. That’s the most influential word in the English language, according to a recent Yale study. 

You need to use it to get what you want. Its power is two-fold. It suggests empathy when you need the other person to feel you’re taking their position into account. And when you are the you, it puts your needs and wants in the forefront. Some other power words include:

• Because. This cause-and-effect word satisfies a craving for reason.

• Instantly. Humans love immediate results and instantly does the trick.

• Guarantee. It’s verbal security and reassurance – and we all like that.

• Imagine. Throw that one in when you would like someone to consider the possibilities as opposed to the facts.

If you like smoothies – use a straw!

Real fruit and vegetable smoothies can be a great for you – but they can be rough on your teeth! 

Whether you enjoy smoothies on a regular basis, or just as a treat, you really should drink them through a straw. According to Dentist Graham Chadwick, the acids in the fruits and veggies can weaken enamel. It’s also a good idea to drink or rinse with some water after a smoothie. Don’t brush your teeth for at least half an hour to avoid doing more damage.

Of the 982 million Twitter accounts, the most common tweet is...

It seems that of the 982 million Twitter accounts out there, 44% of them are Tweeting the exact same thing – nothing. 

Just 30% of users have sent between one and ten tweets and only 13% are considered really active with 100 or more tweets.

With so many accounts, some of the other averages are surprisingly low. The average number of followers per tweeter is 71. The average number of following is 68 and the average number of tweets per active account is just 441.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

If you need a really good night’s sleep – grab some salt.

If you could use some help falling to sleep and staying asleep – salt your feet. 

According to Lindsay Duncan, a naturopathic doctor, it can really do the trick. By soaking your feet in hot water and sea salt for about 20 minutes before bed, you can restore the bodies alkaline. She says a typical diet has too much processed food and other elements that throw off our pH and interfere with quality sleep. 

For the foot bath, any sea salt will do but Lindsay prefers Dead Sea salt because it has a high concentration of magnesium to relax the nervous system. Add about a half cup to a foot basin or bucket filled with hot water. Have some more hot water handy to keep it warm for 20 minutes.

Who’s better at grocery shopping – men or women?

How does your significant other do in the supermarket department? 

A recent survey by Consumer Reports found that men and women have significantly different shopping styles when it comes to food – and their spouses have some definite peeves:

• Half of the men complained the woman spends too much.

• The women claim their men are too impulsive and don’t make lists.

• The men say their women take too long to make up their minds.

• The women accuse the men of buying too many treats.

• The men feel the women skimp on treats.

• Women skimp on the treats and don’t buy enough.

Can you guess the most looked at photo in the world?

The most looked at photo in the world is not the grainy Loch Ness Monster, the Afghan girl or even the first steps on the moon. 

Experts say it’s most likely Bliss – the default scene on Microsoft Windows XP released in 2001. As of 2006, there were over 400 million copies in use. It is estimated that more than one billion people around the world have viewed it, multiple times. 

That iconic serene green pasture with puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky was not computer generated. It’s the real deal. It was taken by Charles O’Rear in 1996 in Sonoma County, California, southeast of Sonoma Valley. O’Rear was en route to Marin when he decided to pull over to the shoulder of Highway 121. He slipped through a wire fence and took the shot.