Monday, June 30, 2014

If you’d like a little less drama – turn down the lights.

The next time you have an important decision to make – dim the lights. 

A recent study found that that bright light can actually let emotion and drama influence a decision. Researchers had participants make decisions and judgment calls in different lighting conditions and determined that under bright lights, emotions are felt more intensely. When we’re exposed to bright light, the brain perceives that as heat which tends to fire up the emotions. 

The majority of big decisions, especially in business, are made in bright light. If you’d like to make a more rational decision, consider finding a dark spot in which to mull it over.

Going for a dip in the ocean? Beware the Great White Shark. Where they’re thriving...

You're gonna need a bigger boat – the Great White Shark is back. 

After being demonized in the 1970s and 80s, great white fishing and hunting regulations were implemented in 1997. According to NOAA, those regulations are working. The great whites are recovering – and even thriving in some waters. Don’t panic just yet. According to NOAA fisheries shark researcher Tobey Curtis, only four fatalities have been attributed to great white sharks in all of history on the Atlantic seaboard. 

So where should you beware? Great white sharks are seasonal travelers, moving up and down the U.S. East Coast at different times of year. They spend the winter months south of North Carolina, then start heading north in the late spring. The West Coast in not off the shark hook. There are an estimated 2,400 great whites off the coast of central California, perhaps several times more than that, according to some experts.

Which works better on headaches – ibuprofen or acetaminophen?

If you’ve got a headache – take acetaminophen. 

The experts at the Cleveland Clinic put both to the test and acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, is the most effective at targeting that pain in the head. So when should you take ibuprofen, like Advil? It’s better for treating fevers, back and muscle aches, toothaches, earaches. 

Both remedies have risks, especially if you take them too often. If you’re going to need more than one dose, it’s a good idea to alternate the two because they are metabolized differently. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Should your next car be a stick shift?

Standard, stick shift transmissions are sporty and fun – but are they better on gas? 

Not necessarily. Automatic transmissions have come a long way and now often get the same or better fuel economy than the manual version in most vehicles. And if you think that manual model will cost less to buy than the automatic, it might. However, many cost the same now and it might be harder to find the vehicle you really want in a stick shift.

There is still an upside to going manual – theft. Because fewer people, including thieves, even know how to drive a stick shift, the easier-to-drive manual car next to yours is probably more tempting. 

To find the perfect date, you need to find the perfect dating site.

When you think online dating, does Match.com come to mind? 

It’s in the top five most popular dating sites but it’s not number one any more. That honor goes to OkCupid, which Match happens to own. Lifehacker.com polled their readers and the favorite dating sites are:

1. OkCupid: With a whopping 50% of the vote, its combination of mathematical matchmaking, free matching and profiles, and a large user community all weighed in its favor.

2. Tinder: 18% preferred this relatively new matchmaking mobile app. It lets singles skip a lot of the fluff and bloat of other online dating sites and get down to business.

3. Match.com: Still the go-to for older singles who might prefer robust profiles and matchmaking options.

4. Plenty of Fish (POF): 13% of those polled hope to catch something there.

5. Meetup.com: It’s not really an online dating site, but there are plenty of singles groups on there to join. You can even start your own and run the show.

Just in time for summer vacation, outdoor photo-taking tips...

If you’re taking a vacation, you’ll probably be taking pictures too. 

Adventure and sports photographer James Carnegie has some tips to take some pictures you’re really going to love to look at:

• Look the OTHER way. That sunset may be amazing, but turn around. That’s where you’ll likely see the most beautiful blue, violet and pink hues.

• Find the foreground. That lovely vista looks good in person, but will lose its impact in a photo. Be sure to have something or someone in the foreground to give it some perspective.

• Take some photos at night. You can even have fun lighting the scene with headlights, streetlights or a campfire. They’ll add some variety to your vacation album.

• Check the forecast. While you may be hoping for sun - rain, storm clouds and fog can make for some beautiful photos.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is it risky to pierce a baby’s ears?

Just because Kim Kardashian’s baby wears diamond earrings, doesn’t mean yours should. 

While it may be typical in some cultures to pierce a baby’s ears shortly after birth, it’s not without unnecessary pain and risk. According to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, executive director of digital health at Seattle Children's Hospital, parents should wait at least 6 months, although even older is ideal. Dr. Swanson says it’s important that the child has a stronger immune system, tetanus shots and bigger earlobes before piercing. 

If your infant insists on baby bling before then, Piercing Pagoda will accommodate them starting at 2 months of age, provided they are bring an identified parent or legal guardian with them.

Four out of five doctors recommend these apps...

There are a ton of health-related apps out there and some are better than others. 

Prevention Magazine asked some doctors to recommend a few and here are their top three:

• iTriagge was created by two ER doctors and can help guide you through a stressful medical situation. 

• Instant Heart Rate detects, displays, and records your pulse. All data is saved and can be exported, making it easy to share with your doctor.

• Pocket First Aid and CPR features the most up-to-date American Heart Association guidelines, and is a good app to have prepared should an emergency arise.

How are your arguing skills? How to win – or lose that next argument...

Most people hate to argue, while some seem to relish it. 

Either way, there is a right and wrong way to do it. Marriage and family therapist Kurt Smith has some surefire ways to LOSE that next argument. 

• Yell. When we lose control of our volume, we’ve also lost control of our emotions. Keeping your voice at a moderate level volume, or even dropping it down a bit, can have a calming effect on a potentially escalating situation.

• Change the subject. Focus on the issue at hand and get it resolved.

• Blame the other person. If you refuse to accept responsibility, you’ll just add fuel to the fire. Acknowledge your role in the conflict. If you’re responsible, apologize and take the loss.

• Bring up past mistakes. Holding on to hurt and letting it become a grudge gives the other person no chance and you’ll lose in the end.

• Launch Personal Attacks. When you focus on the other person’s character rather than the issue you’re disagreeing about, you’re disrespecting them, not disagreeing with them.

• Correct Their Grammar. When all else fails, it’s tempting to resort to something really petty. It rings of desperation and you’ve lost the real argument.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If you’d like to make a better decision, use the 10-10-10 rule.

If you’ve got an important decision to make, enact the 10-10-10 rule. 

Suzy Welch, author of “10-10-10: A Fast and Powerful Way to Get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and with Your Family,” says the rule she developed is simple and helps get your priorities in order. She says if you find yourself in a situation where there appears to be no solution that will make everyone happy, ask yourself three questions:

• What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes?

• In 10 months?

• And in 10 years?

Not only will the 10-10-10 rule help you determine your priorities, it can also make it easier to explain your choice to those others it may impact.

Could someone you love have Alzheimer’s Disease? Symptoms to watch for...

Some memory loss is normal with age – but when should you be worried it’s Alzheimer’s Disease? 

The Alzheimer’s Association has important signs to watch for in a loved one:

• Memory loss that disrupts life: Forgetting recently learned information or asking for the same information over and over.

• Challenges in planning or solving problems: Trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. 

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks: People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks, manage a budget or remember the rules of a favorite game. 

• Confusion with time or place: Losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.

• Misplacing things: A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places and be unable to retrace their steps to find them. They may also accuse others of stealing. 

• Decreased or poor judgment: Watch for changes in decision-making and judgment when dealing with money. They may also pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

• Changes in mood and personality: People with Alzheimer’s may become confused, suspicious, depressed or fearful especially in places out of their comfort zone. 
If someone you love is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s time to see a doctor. You can start with a primary care doctor who may refer you to a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist or geriatrician.

Do you avoid mayonnaise at outdoor functions and parties? Why it’s safer than you think...

If you get sick from picnic or party food – don’t blame the mayo. 

A lot of people avoid using mayonnaise for outdoor functions for fear of food poisoning but it turns out it’s not the mayo we need to be worrying about. Commercially-made mayonnaise is made with pasteurized eggs. It’s also acidic which can actually kill off some harmful bacteria. A more likely culprit of picnic sickness is the stuff we tend to mix the mayonnaise with such as pasta, potatoes, eggs, chicken, or tuna. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fluoride-free toothpaste – what’s the point?

Toothpaste companies used to brag about their fluoride. 

Now, several brands are boldly labeling their product as fluoride-free. While fluoride really is good at strengthening teeth and preventing tooth decay – it’s also a deadly toxin. The debate on whether or not fluoride is good for us rages on but even fluoride advocates admit too much is a bad thing. 

Most experts say we do need fluoride in our toothpaste for the sake of our teeth – but use it sparingly, especially for children. A pea-sized blob will do. If you check the warning on the toothpaste, you’ll be instructed to call a Poison Control Center right away if more than the recommended amount is swallowed.

Think you can talk your way out of that traffic ticket? Think again. What NOT to say...

If you get pulled over by the police – save the excuses. 

Officer Steve Pomper, author of “Is There a Problem, Officer?” says people rarely talk themselves out of a ticket but often talk themselves into one. He says wasting an officer’s time or annoying them with bad excuses could result in the ticket when a when a warning was up for grabs. Here is what NOT to say:

• "Whatever." Officers feel disrespected when drivers dismiss them with a casual "whatever." That disrespect virtually ensures that they will receive tickets.

• "I wasn’t speeding." Statements such as "I wasn’t speeding" or "I didn’t run that light" suggest you are accusing the officer of lying. 

• "I know the mayor." Never say to a police officer, "I know the mayor," "I know your captain" or "I know my rights." Police officers aren’t afraid of your powerful friends, and attempting such a power play increases the odds that the officer will write a ticket.

• "I’m calling my lawyer." Police officers deal with lawyers all the time and are not frightened by them. It’s even worse to tell a police officer that you are a lawyer or are married to one -- some police officers may relish the opportunity to write you a ticket.

• "I’m headed to the DMV." You would be amazed how often police officers hear that one when they pull over a vehicle that has an expired inspection sticker or registration. The one "I’m headed to" that might get you out of a ticket is "I’m headed to the hospital" -- but only if someone in the car truly looks injured, ill or about to give birth.

• "Others were driving faster." A police officer wouldn’t let a burglar go just because other burglars have gotten away with their crimes. Making this argument shows a lack of contrition, increasing the odds that the officer will write a ticket.

How often should you be making whoopee?

It’s no surprise that a couple’s sex lives slow down a bit with age – and that’s perfectly natural. 

According to General Social Survey, which tracks American sexual behavior, couples in their 20s have sex 111 times per year, or 2 to 3 times per week, on average, with frequency dropping steadily, about 20 percent per decade. Of course those are just averages. Other factors such as children, health, medication, workload, hormones and lack of trust or communication can take a big toll on those numbers.

Robert Weiss, a behavioral health expert, says less sex does not automatically equate to less love, happiness and fulfillment. For most couples, especially those who've been together for a number of years, companionship, reliability and a sense of mutual trust are far more meaningful than a lot of hot, sweaty sex. At any age, we should focus on quality, not quantity. Trying to force the issue for frequency’s sake can backfire and diminish the satisfaction factor. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Would your coworkers describe you as negative? If so, tell them this...

Negative people get more done at work. 

Go ahead and tell that to your happy-go-lucky coworkers. Research from the University of Pennsylvania found that grumpy, angry or hateful people have less to do with their time and tend to be much more focused on the task at hand than their cheerful counterparts. The haters are also more likely to become more skilled in certain work areas and experts in their field.

The study also found that starting off your day on the wrong foot could be the right approach. People who felt distressed, hostile, or guilty at the beginning but better by the end of the day were more productive than the people who felt positive from morning to night.

The next time you dust that book shelf, look for these titles...

If you’ve got old books lying around, they could really be worth something. 

They don’t even have to be that old. According to Ken Lopez, a dealer in rare books based in Hadley, Massachusetts, there are several books from the 20th century, even published after 1960, that have significant value. Here are some titles to look for:

• Americana by Don DeLillo (1971). Value: $300 to $500.

• City of Glass by Paul Auster (1985). Value: Around $500.

• Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (1971). Value: $500 to $750.

• Heart Songs and Other Stories by Annie Proulx (1988). Value: Around $300.

• Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (1980). Value: $500 to $750.

• Lonesome Dove by Larry ­McMurtry (1985). Value: Around $350. 

• Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981). Value: Around $750.

• The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970). Value: Around $5,000. 

• The Godfather by Mario Puzo (1969). Value: Around $3,500.

• The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1974). Value: Around $5,000.

• The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy (1965). Value: Around $3,000. 

• The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré (1963). Value: As much as $500. 

• The World According to Garp by John Irving (1978). Value: $200 to $300. 

If you come across one of these books, you’ll need to be sure it’s a first printing, so check the copyright page for the phrase "First Edition." Not every book is identified there but an experienced dealer will be able to help you identify one.

No time to work out? Do this instead...

If working out isn’t your thing – how about just standing up for a while? 

It could lengthen your life. According to Dr. Mike Loosemore, head of the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health at University College London, just standing up for three hours a day can extend life span by two years.

Dr. Loosemore says anyone can find time for some low-level excersize – and just standing there counts. He says regularly getting off your seat, can change your life forever and that active individuals reduce their risk of heart disease by 40% against their inactive counterparts. Standing up and moving around several times a day has also been found to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, various cancers, and ease depression.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

If you’d like to do your brain a favor, take up one of these hobbies...

You’ve undoubtedly heard that learning a second language can do wonders for your brain. 

If you don’t have the time or inclination to parler français or hablar español, get a camera instead. Cognitive studies by the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas have found that learning certain activities can have a really positive impact on cognitive function. They had groups of 60 to 90 year old participants partake in a number of activities from word games and puzzles to quilting and photography. The groups which took up quilting and photography wound up with the highest scores on cognitive tests at the end of the study.

The researchers determined that learning a new skill that is challenging, yet not frustrating, is the key. Both quilting and photography required sustained focus with very little frustration and provided tangible and lasting satisfaction. Those who fooled around with word games and puzzles also improved their scores, but not nearly as much as the quilters and photographers.

Have you ever noticed women tend to say “sorry” a lot more than men? Why that is...

Sorry. I’m sorry. So sorry. 

You’re much more likely to hear these phrases from a woman than a man. Saying “I’m sorry” is actually a habit for a lot of people who don’t even realize they’re saying it. So what are women so sorry about? It’s the little things. Studies have found men have a lower offense threshold than women – and are less likely to apologize for something that’s not their fault. Many women, on the other hand, will offer up an “I’m sorry” for things they had nothing to do with. They often use “I’m sorry” as a term of empathy rather than an actual apology. Men tend to save the “I’m sorry” for something really big, or for an offense they have committed themselves.

Does driving next to a truck make you nervous? Advice from that truck driver...

If you find yourself next to a truck on the highway, check his mirrors. 

Allen Boyd, a truck driver for Walmart Transportation and a member of America's Road Team for highway safety, has some advice. If you're driving next to a truck, check the driver's side-view mirror. If you can't see his face, then he probably can't see your car. If you're behind a truck, make sure that you can see both of the truck's side-view mirrors. If you can't, you’re too close. Slow down a bit and widen the gap.

If you’re fixing to pass a truck on the highway, give yourself, and the truck, plenty of room. You don’t want to get back into the truck’s lane until you’re far enough ahead to see the entire cab in your rearview mirror. It’s risky passing a truck on the right because the driver’s blind spot is a lot bigger on that side. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Do you crave water after eating ice cream? Why that happens...

If you’ve just got to have some water after eating that ice cream – it’s not just you. 

A lot of people experience extreme thirst after that cup or cone in the ice cream shop. There is a scientific explanation for that. Let’s start with the ingredients. The rock salt used to make ice cream sets you up for thirst and then the sugar in there will trigger an even stronger reaction. Once that sugar enters your blood stream it sends a message to your brain that you need water. Pair those ingredients up with a mouthful of sticky dairy and you might be screaming for water after the ice cream.

Do you know what is secretly sucking up power in your house?

When you shut your TV and cable off at night, they’re still sucking up power. 

That’s because they’re in standby mode. According to the L.A. Times, together, all of our cable boxes consume as much electricity as produced by four giant nuclear reactors, running around the clock. They have become the biggest single energy user in many homes, apart from air conditioning. 

You’ve probably got some other notorious phantom or vampire energy suckers running. The next biggest offenders after the Cable and DVR box are notebook computers, inkjet printers, cable modems and cordless phones. 

Should you list your religion on your resume?

If you feel the need to list your faith on your resume or on a job application, it could work against you. 

Two recent studies conducted in New England and the South found that listing faith on a resume can cut the chances for a callback by more than 25 percent. The researchers experimented with seven different listings including atheist, Catholic, evangelical Christian, Jewish, pagan, Muslim, a made up “Wallonian” faith. Another controlled group of resumes had no religious affiliation. Those with no religious affiliation go more callbacks, especially in the South. 

David Lewin, head of Berkeley Research Group’s Labor and Employment practice, said these studies do tend to show there will be factors in resumes that will lead to bias – and religion is no exception. Monster.com’s advice: You may want to leave out organization names that disclose your cultural background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and other possible targets of discrimination.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Would you pass the U.S. citizenship test?

How would you fare on a U.S. citizenship test? 

USA Today put Americans to the test and found that only 62% of us got a passing grade. Immigrants are required to answer some questions in order to qualify for Naturalization. They’re given a list of 100 questions and do have a chance to study and need to answer ten. Let’s see how you do on some of the easy ones:

1. Q: What country did we fight during the revolutionary War? A: Great Britain

2. Q: What is the Constitution? A: The supreme law of the land

3. Q: What is the Bill of Rights? A: The first 10 amendments of the Constitution

4. Q: If both the president and the vice president die, who becomes president? A: The Speaker of the House of Representatives

5. Q: Name the thirteen original states. A: Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Maryland

6. Q: Who said “give me liberty or give me death”? A: Patrick Henry

7. Q: Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence? A: Thomas Jefferson

8. Q: Who was the president during the Civil War? A: Abraham Lincoln

9. Q: Who has the power to declare war? A: The Congress

10. Q: Who was the first commander in chief of the U.S. Military? A: George Washington

Headed to the beach this summer? Take some sanitizer.

The next time you build a sand castle, wash your hands. 

A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who dig in the sand are more likely to get sick. Tests of some sandy beaches found more E. coli bacteria in the sand than in the water or the public bathroom. Kids who like to bury themselves or each other in the sand are most at risk. They were the most likely to come down with a stomach bug within a few days of their day at the beach.

Hand sanitizer is a good idea after digging in the sand, but thoroughly washing with soap and water is even better, especially before eating your picnic lunch. 

Take the weekend off from yard work and rent a goat instead.

If you’ve got stubborn weeds or growth in your yard – rent a goat. 

Renting goats to clear brush and unwanted vegetation is catching on. They’re cute, hardworking and even fertilize as they go. Some of their favorite eats are thistle, poison oak and ivy, vines and sage brush. They can handle any terrain and don’t need gas or make much noise. 

You can rent a dozen goats for about $200 a day – and that includes portable fencing so they don’t clean up your neighbor’s yard instead. One full size goat can eat about 85 pounds of vegetation per day. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Would you like to get some of that quality family time back? There’s an app for that...

There is an app you may want to consider serving with dinner tonight. 

DinnerTime is a free app for Android and iOS that can let you lock up your family’s devices at the dinner table. First, you’ll need to install the app on your child’s phone and designate that device as “kid” when prompted. You’ll send a message from that phone to your phone and then link it up.

Once installed, DinnerTime lets you schedule device downtime for the “kid.” You can choose from Dinner Time, Down Time and even Bed Time. One touch on your phone and the kid’s device is in lockdown mode for the designated time. The free app is good for two parents and two kids. You can add extra kids with an in-app purchase.

If you care about your hairdresser, give them this message...

If you love your hairdresser, make sure they wear gloves. 

A new study has found that hairdressers who work with dye and permanent wave solutions are at increased risk for certain cancers, especially of the bladder. Researchers took blood samples from hairdressers who work with these chemicals and some who don’t. Those with regular exposure to hair dyes and perms had higher concentrations of the harmful chemicals in their blood. 

Another study found that some other products used by hairdressers and barbers, such as rubber chemicals and curing agents, have been found to cause tumors in lab rats. Poor air circulation in salons is also a concern for employees and customers breathing in the toxic fumes.

Your sunglasses might be giving you wrinkles! The style to avoid...

Do your sunglasses have metal frames? 

If so, they could be doing some real damage to the delicate skin around your eyes. The metal frames can reflect the sunlight onto your skin around the glasses. According to dermatologist Vivian Bucay, people who wear metal frames, such as aviators, often wind up with sun spots on their cheeks as a result. 

Dr. Bucay says mirrored lenses are the way to go. They are the best at deflecting UV rays and reducing damage and wrinkles around the eyes.

Here kitty kitty. Where that cat wants to be touched, and where he doesn’t...

If you’ve got a cat, you’ve probably already found the best spots for scratching – and the worst. 

While most dogs might love a good belly rub, that’s off limits for most cats. The belly is the most vulnerable spot on a cat because it provides access to all of their vital organs. Most cats are very protective about that spot and would rather not feel compromised on their back. Some cats will learn to like a belly rub from someone they really trust, while others never, ever will.

If that cat could talk, he or she would ask you to scratch at the base of the ears, on the cheeks just behind the whiskers, under the chin and at the base of the tail. Now that feels good.

Kills bugs dead. Just don’t spray it inside.

There are a lot of products on the market to kill those pesky ants, roaches or rodents in your home, but you should probably avoid the types that spray. 

Indoor spray bug killer can be toxic, especially if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Exposure could leave you with symptoms such as headache, dizziness, muscle twitches or worse. Some are more hazardous than others. Pest control expert BrianKabell says to look for these warnings on the label:

• “CAUTION” is mildest

• “WARNING” is more hazardous

• “DANGER” is for products with most harmful possible effects

Brian says we’re better choosing a gel or solid pesticide over a fogger or spray to minimize exposure. If you still choose to use a spray to kill bugs or other pests, assess the area before you do. Move any plants, pets and people from the room. Fish birds and reptiles are at especially high risk.

Are you a mosquito magnet? Who they like best...

If mosquitoes seem to choose you over everyone around you – you could be a mosquito magnet. 

One in ten people are. Researchers say a big part of the appeal is genetic. Certain elements in your body chemistry can also make you irresistible. People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface attract mosquitoes.

Larger people have mosquito appeal, as do pregnant women, because they tend to exhale more carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes also have a favorite blood type. If you’re Type O – you’re a gourmet bite.

Move over hamburgers; make room for these unusual grill treats...

If you’re firing up the grill, why not throw something new on there. 

Linda Gassenheimer, author of “Fast and Flavorful” has these exotic suggestions:

• Romaine Lettuce. Cut the head in half and spray all sides with olive oil. Grill cut side down for 5 minutes, turn, and give it another 3 minutes. Add vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste.

• Watermelon. Coat 1-inch-thick slices with some olive oil and grill each side for a few minutes.

• Bananas. Slice them lengthwise, brush them with lemon juice than sprinkle them with some cinnamon, salt and sugar. You’ll need tongs to turn them over.

• Pound Cake. Brush your grill with some canola oil than toast your pound cake slices for about 2 minutes per side. Finish them off with your favorite sauce or berries.

Are you thin on the outside and obese on the inside? The superfat phenomenon...

You can’t always judge a book by the cover. And the same goes for fat. 

According to Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at the Imperial College at the University of London, skinny people—even supermodel types—can be superfat. He says it can be a shock when a thin person has as much internal body fat as an obese or even morbidly obese person. As many as 30 million Americans may fall into this normal-weight but obese on the inside category.

Internal fat is typically found from the top of your hips to the top of your liver and hidden around organs. Dr. Bell says the more internal body fat a person has, the more they are setting themselves up for health problems later. A thin but overfat person without health problems can reach a tipping point and develop high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes.

If you’re slim but not very active, you need to get moving to lose that internal fat. Find a way to work some cardio exercise into your life four to five days a week.

If you’re afraid it will rain on your vacation week, you might want to buy protection.

Ahhh, a full week at the beach. But what if it rains? 

There is insurance for that. According to Jeff Boyd, CEO of Priceline.com, several online companies are offering what they call "vacation insurance," deals in which they will reimburse any parts of a vacation that are ruined. He also says Priceline’s weather insurance will cover you if your vacation is rained out. 

Travel or weather insurance generally costs about 4 to 8% of the cost of the vacation, but be careful before you purchase it. In most cases, it will not cover last minute trips where bad weather has been forecasted. You’ll need to buy the insurance well in advance of your trip.

What are the best midlife crisis cars? Consumer Reports has the list...

Consumer Reports tests cars for us using all kinds of criteria such as safety, reliability and fuel efficiency. 

Well now they’ve tested some for their mojo. Here are their recommendations for the five top midlife crisis cars: 

• The Maserati Ghibli has a Ferrari developed engine for a mere $70,000. That’s a steal considering Ferraris start at $188,000.

• The Porsche Boxster is only $55,000 – and with the top down, delivers the thrill of wind through what’s left of your hair.

• The Ford Mustang screams “I still got it.” As long as you’ve still got $22,000 to spare.

• The Cadillac ATS delivers every mid-life luxury for just $40,000.

• Still a favorite, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is just what the empty nester ordered. Who needs a back seat anymore? It starts at $53,000 and costs less than a divorce.

If you’ll be working or playing in the sun, pack a banana.

It’s getting hot out there – any you’ll need to eat accordingly. 

The next time you break a sweat, have a banana. They’re easy to pack and eat on the go and the potassium in there helps to replenish the electrolytes we lose through sweating. Munching on raisins, blueberries or an apple can also help you stay energized in the heat.

Do you look good in the nude? The naked truth...

Here’s some good news: You look great in the buff. 

Massage therapist Dave Favier says everybody on a massage table is beautiful. There are really no exceptions to this rule. He explains that a lot of people are uptight at first and feeling self-conscious. However, once they realize they can stop “hanging on” and are feeling safe, a glowing, luminosity sets in and the whole body, regardless of its shape, age or size, becomes radiant. 

Dave explains that nobody looks like models in a magazine on the table, not even magazine models. It’s more about the unique story each body tells and letting the inner glow reach the surface that makes every body beautiful.

Guess what the healthiest vegetable is.

If you guessed broccoli or spinach was the healthiest vegetable, you’re not even close. 

Researchers at New Jersey's William Paterson University compiled a list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables, or PVFs, based on nutrient density and watercress scored a perfect 100. It was the only produce that aced the test. Spinach came in at number four with a score of 86.4 and broccoli didn’t even make the top ten. They include:

1. Watercress 

2. Chinese cabbage 

3. Chard Beet greens 

4. Spinach 

5. Chicory Leaf lettuce 

6. Parsley 

7. Romaine lettuce 

8. Collard greens 

Can you really trust that online review? How to spot a fake...

When choosing a hotel, it’s a good idea to check the customer reviews online. 

Just don’t fall for the bogus ones. Cornell University researchers developed software to detect phony reviews and found it to be 90% accurate. The software picks up language often used in deceptive reviews. 

With hotel reviews, look for these clues that it could be a fake. Deceptive writers tend to use more adjectives and verbs than real writers do. They also focus more on family and activities. Legitimate reviewers are more likely to focus on the hotel itself and use a lot more punctuation.

Imagine getting paid for sleeping or eating chocolate? Dream jobs...

What would your dream job be? 

Some of these sound too good to be true – but they’re out there. Mashable has the list:

• Luxury Bed Tester. One lucky applicant was hired by Simon Horn Ltd to sleep in top-of-the-line luxury beds every night for a month and then blog about it for $1,600.

• Panda Caretaker. The China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center is now accepting applications for panda caretakers until July 15. The job description reads: Your work has only one mission. Spending 365 days with the pandas and sharing in their joys and sorrows. The annual salary is $32,000 and includes free meals, transit and accommodations – in China. 

• Fake Executive. Western-looking men can get paid to pretend to work in China. Some companies are hiring Westerners to pose as executives to make the company appear well-connected internationally and credible in the business world.

• Chocolate Taster. Most professional tasters work in food science or product development and can either be entry-level employees earning between $30,000 and $60,000, or senior executives with six-figure salaries.

• Water Slide Tester. First Choice Holidays Resort paid one lucky hire over $30,000, travel expenses and a seven-day vacation for two at any of the operation's resorts after his six-month contract testing slides for adrenalin rush and splash factor.

If you’re feeling anxious before a big moment, don’t calm down.

If you feel anxious or excited before that test, interview or performance – go with it. 

It turns out that trying to calm yourself down can actually hurt your performance. That’s because we tend to think of what could go wrong when trying to calm down, in an attempt to eliminate fear. 

In a Harvard Business School experiment, participants who told themselves “I am excited” delivered more persuasive speeches than those who told themselves to calm down before the presentation. If we acknowledge the butterflies and admit we’re nervous or excited, we’re more likely to focus on what needs go right. We can tap into the fight rather than flight and better tackle the task at hand. 

Red wine stains your teeth. Why that could be good news...

This just in: Red wine is good for your teeth. 

Sure, it can stain them, but that’s exactly how you know it’s working. A recent study found the antioxidants from grape seeds found in red wine is effective at killing dental bacteria. Red wine has high substantivity, which means it adheres well to the surface of our teeth. It goes right to work killing bacteria and can ultimately help prevent tooth decay and cavities. 

Perfume does more than make you smell pretty. How it makes you look pretty...

If you’d like to look more attractive, spray some perfume. 

A recent study found that people perceived others as more attractive when they were exposed to pleasing scents. For the experiment, 50 participants viewed photos of other people while exposed to different aromas.

The people in the photos were scored as less attractive while the scent of fish oil wafted by. When rose oil fragrance was released, the subjects in the photos magically got more attractive. The researchers even manipulated the pictures to make them less attractive but found that pleasant aromas trumped facial imperfections. 

Do your kids get allowance? Whether or not that’s a good idea...

Should kids get allowance? Tom Henske of Lenox Advisors says yes. 

Tom explains that having and spending money is good practice for life. You wouldn’t send your child to play tennis without a racquet and you can’t expect them to appreciate the value of money without actually having any. 

Tom says it’s better not to attach the allowance to chores and suggest giving them $1 per week for each year of their age. A six year old will have $6 per week to save, spend, invest or donate. They can spend it on anything they want. This is practice, its okay to make mistakes. It’s better to make that now with a few dollars than later in life with a few thousand.

If you kids aren’t on Facebook anymore, I’ll tell you where to find them...

We have college kids and teens to thank for the Facebook revolution – but now they’re moving on. 

While the majority of teens say they still have a Facebook account, they’re spending a lot more time on social media that isn’t cluttered up with parents like Facebook is. The new teen hotspots are:

• Snapchat: This is the go-to social spot for teens who don’t want to leave a footprint. Their interactions self-destruct in ten seconds or less. It’s almost impossible for parents to check.

• Pheed: This app allows users to create and share videos, photos and voice tracks, plus make live broadcasts and share posts of up to 420 characters. Take that Twitter.

• PicsArt: Typing is out – drawing and photo editing are in. The majority of users are between 13 and 24 years old. 

• Tumblr: It’s been around for a while and has racked up a respectable 65 billion posts – the majority of which come from teenagers.

• Vine: No rambling lectures here. It’s perfect for kids with a short attention span or who would prefer to communicate via video in six seconds or less.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Step away from the tie rack. What Dad really wants for Father’s Day...

Father’s Day is this Sunday and Parenting Magazine wants to help you think beyond the tie and the tool kit. 

They’ve got some pretty good suggestions for the modern Dad:

• ION iCade. It brings old-school gaming into the future. Slip your iPad into the vintage-looking arcade unit and download some classics like Asteroids and Centipedes. $100 at Radio Shack. 

• Smartphone wallet. These bifold and trifold gems will hold Dad’s phone, business cards, cash and more and start around $10 at Walmart.

• Soapstone ice cubes. A new trend for whiskey lovers, these prehistoric looking black cubes are stored in the freezer and will chill Dad’s whiskey without watering it down. They’re about $20 on Amazon.

If you think Dad really does want a tie, you could go high-tech with that too. The QR Tie comes in several patterns and colors – and has your dad’s unique QR code printed on the back. He can choose where his code directs people when scanned. It can display his business card, personal website, and even use it to direct the scanner to his dating profile. It’s $31.95 at Zazzle.com.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

We’re supposed to eat breakfast – but at what time?

Technically, breakfast can be at any time of the day. 

If it’s the first thing you’re eating, you're breaking your fast. However, there is a prime time for breakfast. Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass says it’s best to break your fast within an hour of getting out of bed. It helps to kick-start your metabolism and regulates blood sugar.

If you have a morning exercise routine, your best breakfast time is before you work out. However, if you’re exercising to lose weight, consider holding off on breakfast until just after your workout. Regardless of your schedule, try to get something nutritious in before 10 am.

They’ve tallied the drinks by the gallon and the drunkest state in the union is...

Which state would you guess consumes the most alcohol? 

If you would guess Florida, New York, or somewhere in the Deep South – you’d be wrong. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has released their annual Surveillance Report, which tallies up alcohol consumption per gallon, per capita – and the winner is the Live Free or Die sate. New Hampshirites consume a dizzying 4.65 gallons per person per year - nearly twice the national average. Close behind in the alcohol state of the union is Washington DC. Here are the states by the gallon:

1. New Hampshire 4.65
2. Dist. of Columbia 3.89
3. Delaware 3.59
4. North Dakota 3.42
5. Nevada 3.27
6. Wisconsin 3
7. Montana 2.96
8. Vermont 2.92
9. Alaska 2.82
10. Colorado 2.76
11. Idaho 2.76
12. South Dakota 2.76
13. Florida 2.72
14. Rhode Island 2.72
15. Minnesota 2.7
16. Wyoming 2.67
17. Maine 2.65
18. Oregon 2.65
19. Louisiana 2.6
20. Massachusetts 2.57
21. Hawaii 2.54
22. Arizona 2.43
23. Missouri 2.42
24. Connecticut 2.39
25. Iowa 2.39
26. New Jersey 2.39
27. Illinois 2.36
28. New Mexico 2.36
29. California 2.35
30. South Carolina 2.33
31. Nebraska 2.32
32. Michigan 2.29
33. Texas 2.28
34. Pennsylvania 2.26
35. Washington 2.25
36. Maryland 2.21
37. Mississippi 2.2
38. New York 2.17
39. Virginia 2.13
40. North Carolina 2.05
41. Ohio 2.03
42. Alabama 2
43. Tennessee 2
44. Georgia 1.99
45. Indiana 1.97
46. Kansas 1.95
47. Oklahoma 1.94
48. Kentucky 1.87
49. Arkansas 1.81
50. West Virginia 1.81
51. Utah 1.37