BlogHer en The Easiest Way to Feng Shui Your Home <!--paging_filter--><p>One of the easiest&nbsp;ways to feng shui your home is to&nbsp;<strong style="line-height: 1.4em;">bring beneficial energy&nbsp;inside</strong>. And how do you do this? Simple!<img class="wp-more-tag mce-wp-more" style="line-height: 1.4em;" title="Read more..." src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" alt="" data-wp-more="more" data-wp-more-text="" data-mce-resize="false" data-mce-placeholder="1" /></p><blockquote><p>Fill your home with things you absolutely love, and that make you smile and feel happy on the inside.&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>'Like what?', I hear you ask.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="310" /></p><p>Well, for starters, definitely not that horrendous vase that Aunt Beverly gave you after she cleared out her garage, with its shabby-chic style minus the chic that matches with absolutely nothing in your carefully colour-coordinated living room, nor the relaxed, hamptons-style decor of your entire house, but which you have to keep on display in case she decides to randomly pop over one day, as she does.</p><p>The general rule is&nbsp;<strong>if you dislike the look of it, don't put it in your house</strong>. Get rid of it because it just adds to&nbsp;<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">clutter</a>&nbsp;and we already know what the deal with that is.</p><p><strong>If an object brings up negative feelings, then you are only encouraging this type of energy to build up in your home</strong>.</p><p>If you feel guilty every time you look at Aunt Bev's vase because you really just want to&nbsp;lob it down the stairs&nbsp;dispose of it, then you should definitely dispose of it, or maybe sell it on Gumtree to someone who'll actually appreciate it (honestly, people sell used egg cups&nbsp;on that site&nbsp;so there's bound to be someone who'll give you a few bucks for an old vase).</p><p>I actually have a vase in my living room that makes me happy. I don't quite know what it is; maybe its soft jade-green colour or the way the light hits its gentle curves that remind me of a buddah's belly, but for whatever the reason, I just love it.</p><p>It's this kind of thing that you want in your home.</p><p><strong>Things that make you feel good!</strong></p><p>Even little things like&nbsp;<strong>fresh flowers</strong>&nbsp;will work, because it's pretty hard not to feel cheerful when you've got a big,&nbsp;colourful bunch of Gerberas sitting on your table.&nbsp;Just remember to throw them out as soon as they start to die because, you guessed it, not only will they not be looking pretty anymore, but that dead energy is definitely something you don't want in your home.</p><p>So go on, think about what kind of feelings the different items in your house evoke and make sure they are all positive!</p><p><img class="size-thumbnail wp-image-1056 alignleft" src="" alt="jemxox" width="150" height="150" /></p><p><a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"></a></p><p class="p1">For extra feng shui tips and interior inspiration, follow me on&nbsp;<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Instagram</a>,&nbsp;<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Pinterest</a>!&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">&nbsp;</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle DIY & Home easy feng shui feng shui feng shui tips Fri, 24 Jun 2016 23:19:20 +0000 homeheartfengshui 2333712 at Simple Coconut Brownie Ice Cream <!--paging_filter--><p>Last week I was approached by a fairly large online company and asked to write a post featuring "healthy" snacks. Healthy. Snacks. Cough. Cough. Did they even read my blog before contacting me? I mean yes, I do use mostly natural ingredients when creating recipes, but calling my recipes "healthy" would be a pretty tremendous stretch even for me. Oh but wait, it gets even better. They wanted me to discuss how these "healthy" snacks of mine could help readers slim down for wedding season.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="826" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Weddings. Once again, are they freaking crazy? Do they not realize that B.O.B. Bob and I have been together for over 13 years and have yet to have a wedding due to our laziness and unwillingness to place all of our friends in a room together for more than one hour without wanting to shoot ourselves in the head? Clearly these folks have done gone and lost their mind.</p><p>I had to say no to this company and their lovely yet strange "healthy" offer. I mean really, how the hell could I even accept without feeling like the biggest fraud in the world. If I had accepted, today you might be seeing a recipe for granola, seasoned nuts, or low-fat salad dressing dip but certainly not this one for <strong>Simple Coconut Brownie Ice Cream</strong>. Those recipes still might appear here one day, but if they do it will be because I want them to, not because I'm trying to convince a bunch of brides what they need to eat before their big day.</p><p>Hell, I say grab a spoon and dig into an overflowing dish of this ice cream. You only live once, and do you really want to start your whole future life madder than a nest of hornets because you've been eating only baked kale chips and chia seeds? I know I sure as heck wouldn't. If you really want to get "healthy," make this ice cream using <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"><strong>Milk Chocolate Coconut Brownies</strong></a>. You can always buy that big ol' flooffy&nbsp;white dress in a bigger size. I mean really y'all, you only get married once. Cough. Cough.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="826" /></p><p><strong>Ingredients:</strong></p><ul><li>1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar</li><li>1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed</li><li>1/4 Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt</li><li>1 Cup Milk</li><li>2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream</li><li>2 Teaspoons Coconut Extract</li><li>1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract</li><li>1 Cup Crumbled Brownie Pieces</li><li>2-oz. Finely Chopped Semi-Sweet Chocolate</li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="826" /></strong></p><p><strong>Directions:</strong></p><ol><li>In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, salt, and milk until well combined.</li><li>Add the whipping cream and extracts; whisk until well combined.</li><li>Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.</li><li>Churn the ice cream for 25 to 30 minutes in an ice cream machine.</li><li>In a large bowl, fold the crumbled brownie and chopped chocolate into the churned ice cream.</li><li>Place the ice cream in a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 to 8 hours before serving.</li></ol><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="826" /></strong></p><p><strong>Suggestions:</strong></p><ul><li>I recommend using crumbled <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link"><strong>Milk Chocolate Coconut Brownies</strong></a> in this recipe.</li><li>You don't have to use semi-sweet chocolate in this recipe; feel free to use dark, milk, or white chocolate instead.</li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="826" /></strong></p><p><strong>Improvements:</strong></p><ul><li>Add some toasted coconut to the ice cream.</li><li>Toss in 1/2-cup of sliced or chopped almonds.</li></ul><p><em><strong>Faith, Hope, Love, &amp; Luck</strong></em></p><p><strong><em>- Colleen</em></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Food DIY & Home brownies coconut icecream Fri, 24 Jun 2016 23:07:19 +0000 FaithHopeLoveAndLuck 2385641 at The Joy of Napping <!--paging_filter--><p>Robert Fulghum tells us that he learned everything he needed to know in kindergarten. I can't go all the way with him on #1 –&nbsp;Share everything&nbsp;–&nbsp;especially when it comes to Facebook, but I'm a solid believer in #12 – Take a nap every afternoon. (Well, and #9 – Flush.)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="366" /></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Image via <a href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Pixabay</a></em></p><p>I love naps – the sensual pleasure of snuggling into my bed in a cozy little nest&nbsp;of pillows, sheets and blankets; the quiet purr of the fan and the cat who perches on my hip; the knowledge that, for a time, I can let go of the cares of the day; the promise of renewed spirit and energy; the satisfaction of turning off my phone.</p><p>Two of the best ways that I know of improving my mood are having a meal and taking a nap. The one often follows closely on the other, a phenomenon I am told is called "postprandial torpor." (I've often wished I could call in sick to work and claim that affliction. Or "rhinotillexomania." They sound so serious. But if anyone at your workplace knows Latin, you're busted.)</p><p>Naps, however, are&nbsp;part of the reason that I can no longer work regular hours in a regular office. I find that bosses get upset if you take the phrase "break room" too literally. In the past I've contemplated keeping a sleeping bag under my desk, but that would never work. Let's face it – I snore. Prodigiously. Someone would be sure to notice, and object. When I was traveling with my mother, she used to beg me to let her get to sleep before I nodded off.</p><p>Fortunately, I work at home, so breaks and naps are entirely my own choice, except in case of deadlines. The transition from desk chair to bed is easy. I'm usually already wearing my jammies, and the commute is just up the stairs. (I can't nap on the couch. It's too uncomfortable. I used to be able to nap face down on an airline tray table. This was useful because the flight attendant, seeing me, would think I was dead and leave me alone for the rest of the flight for fear of alarming the other passengers.)</p><p>Unfortunately, I'm not able to take "cat naps" – a misnomer if I ever heard one. My cats sleep on average 18 hours a day, and invariably right where a human wants to walk or sit. One of my cats even snores – daintily, but audibly. And no, it's not a purr. We've been thinking of getting a tiny CPAP machine for her, but we think she'd object to the mask. And cats have unpleasant ways of making their objections known. If you have a cat, you know what I mean.</p><p>But I digress. Short, 20-minute naps do me no good. They don't refresh me at all. In fact, they leave me more muddle-headed than ever.&nbsp;But the real reason I can't take short naps is that it often takes me 20 minutes or more, usually of reading, to fall asleep. Since&nbsp;that's the case, it's hardly worth sleeping less than an hour or two.</p><p>But some&nbsp;of the time, even two hours of napping doesn't do the job. Hence I have invented the Mega-Nap, of at least four hours. The Mega-Napping doesn't usually interfere with my nighttime sleep, either. On one memorable occasion I Mega-Napped for a good six&nbsp;hours, and&nbsp;woke at 9:30 p.m., just in time to go back to bed and sleep for another 10 hours, giving the cats a run for their snoozes. I also suffer from Nap Attacks, when I hit the wall – hard – and simply must nap, collapse into a heap, or bite someone's head off. Napping is usually the wisest choice.</p><p>My husband naps&nbsp;differently. He can take 20-minute naps and get some benefit from them. Even the nine-minute snooze-button naps seem to do him some good.&nbsp;He can also fall asleep at will, which is severely annoying, especially if we're having a fight. But he has occasionally been known to join me in a Mega-Nap. He has an excuse, however: He works third shift.</p><p>With apologies to Robert Fulghum, I do see one glaring difference between kindergarten naps and grown-up naps. Children resist them and resent them and get cranky when they have&nbsp;to take one. Adults seek them and savor them and get cranky if they&nbsp;<em>can't</em>&nbsp;have one.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Janet Coburn is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger at and</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Work & Life humor naps naptime Fri, 24 Jun 2016 22:48:31 +0000 JanetCoburn 2336651 at Yes, Dear Daughter, You Are Overweight! <!--paging_filter--><p>My second daughter is overweight. She is not obese nor is she the type of child that people stare at in the street, unable to hide their disgust! She is very tall for a nine-year-old and she is beautiful—striking, even. Most important, she is a very considerate, loving child with a fantastic sense of humor and an infectious laugh. But, she is overweight. Now why does it seem like I have overridden all of her fantastic character traits with some singlular negative phrasing?</p> <p>Because this is what happens in real life. It seems that no matter how talented, beautiful or intelligent one is, if they are fat they are deemed to be a failure in some way. Look at Oprah Winfrey, for example, one of the most successful women in the world and yet she finds herself entangled in a constant battle of the bulge. We are bombarded by media bias toward fat people daily. Weight-loss products and programs scream, "Sort yourself out, you big, fat heap, and we guarantee your life will be better."</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Yes, Dear Daughter, You Are Overweight!" /><br /><em>Photo Credit: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">DLSimaging via Flickr</a></em>.</center></p> <p>Images of svelte women casually strolling on a beach, wind blowing in their hair and toned &nbsp;thighs rippling as their toes sink in the sand haunt our subconscious as we bite into our sandwiches. We all know that for most of us our holiday moments look nothing like this.</p> <p>Picture copious layering to hide stretch marks and spare tires, stumbling through sand dunes with mouthfuls of hair and suncream as you almost break your ankle trying to negotiate such hostile terrain and you have &nbsp;a more realistic view of how it actually is for many of us. And that's okay because life isn't an advert or a reality tv show. However, what's not okay is how we have been brainwashed into thinking that this is how it should be, but I digress and that's a subject for another day. Back to my daughter.</p> <p>Like most parents, I too struggle to take care of their emotional needs in order to ensure that my kids grow up with as much confidence and self love as possible. The question I am posing, however, is this. Should we continue to lie to our kids &nbsp;and tell them that they look fine, that they're not putting on weight, that it's what's on the inside that counts when reality is staring them in the face? Are we simply teaching our kids to learn to live with the uncomfortableness and shame surrounding weight gain instead of enabling them to free themselves from the vicious cycle which most of us can say we've been entangled in at some point or other?</p> <p>Firstly, let us ask the other question, Is being overweight all that bad? I have noticed a surge in posts and articles relating to the above, with the authors claiming to love themselves no matter what, throwing their proverbial Bridget Jones's knickers to the world in an attempt &nbsp;to say that they just don't care what everyone thinks. But how helpful is this attitude? If it wasn't an issue in the first place then why feel the need to write about it? It's because we are bothered.</p> <p>Being overweight isn't fun. I know. I've been there and probably will be back again. The truth is I yo -yo. My body also changed after having kids. My appetite changes as does my interest in exercise. Weight isn't always a given. You can control it, that for me is the secret and that is precisely what I tell my daughter.</p> <p>When she came home last week and told me that she had been called fat by a boy at school, I stalled for a moment. I knew that she wanted me to say that he was wrong, that he was a brat and that I would get straight onto his parents and teachers and call him out for bullying. But what good would that do? What do I do the next time she's called fat, or the next time she cries in the changing room because nothing "looks right" on her?</p> <p>If I could shield her from the world and protect her from every jibe and insult, I would. I would love to see her enjoy a healthy relationship with food and to indulge her appetite to a degree but you see I can't. It is affecting how she views herself and those around her. She wants to know what obese people look like as opposed to fat people. She's already commenting on heavily obese people in the street and judgementalism is a burden which I definitely do not want my kids lumbered with.</p> <p>So, I turned around and said, "Yes, sweetheart, you have gained weight." Her eyes filled with tears for a moment and she felt the weight of the comment land squarely on her nine year old shoulders. But I resisted the deadly urge to back track. I got down to her level and told her how beautiful and funny she is. I reminded her of how many friends she has ( she is extremely popular amongst her classmates). I told her how she was going to stretch and all of that extra weight would disappear as it did with her older sister, and that everyone has different ideas of what "fat" actually is anyway.</p> <p> But then I told her that her eating choices had been less than healthy of late. She nodded as she recounted the extra biscuits that she'd eaten and &nbsp;the snacking between meals. I told her that I like to indulge too and that I would make a big effort with her in order to drop a few pounds because it was the "healthy" thing to do, not because of what that boy at school said. &nbsp;I told her that all that sugar was bad for her anyway and that she could have a little bit of anything she liked, everything in moderation. I also told her that she is in control, that "you can lose weight, but you can't lose ugly" and that's most important!</p> <p>Gradually, the tears stopped and she straightened up, thanked me for telling her the truth which she knew anyway and said she was looking forward to making a change and doing more exercise. She jumped up on her bike with her gorgeous shiny chestnut hair blowing around her glowing face and cycled off to play with her sisters.</p> <p>You see, I know from experience how much better I feel when I am happy in my own skin.. when I don't have to deal with layers of excess weight bulging out over my jeans or under my bra straps. I feel lighter when I'm at a healthy weight for my body ( of course it's different for everybody, based on height and body mass). I don't believe in clothes sizes, just your own personal "happy" size. I know when I look and feel good and I know when I don't, and if I don't, I do something about it, in the age-old, time-tested method of "less in, more out!"</p> <p>I want my daughter to be in control too. I would love to be able to honestly say that being over weight doesn't matter or won't have any bearing on her happiness, but I know from experience that this isn't true and I won't lie to her. What I will do is help her achieve her goals, whatever they may be.</p> <p>Weight should not define us and we shouldn't let it. Unfortunately, this is the case as is propagated by mainstream media. Being fat is seen as a failing in some regards. I personally don't see it as a failure, but as a moment of flux which can be changed if one so wishes.</p> <p>I am aware that some people reading this will say that they are very happy and self-assured in their own skin regardless, and I applaud you for your self assuredness. However, I myself am unable to find contentment in the midst of weight gain. This does not mean that I allowed my children to pick up on my insecurities either. In fact, one of our favorite things to do together as a family is to eat. I just know from listening to colleagues and from my job working with teenage girls how important one's figure is to the majority &nbsp;for overall self-confidence. It is also healthier to be a good weight for your height and to ensure fast and processed foods are eaten sparingly.</p> <p>Of course, health comes first too. I know of parents who are fitness fanatics and whose children are following suit, running miles daily and getting up at 6 a.m. to do the plank before school. That to me is torture of a different kind, and I'd much rather see my child dig into a plate of pasta and go outside afterwards to work it off with some unstructured play time.</p> <p>There's plenty of time for all of that competitiveness and structure later on. Kids need to be kids while they can. Life is tough enough later on without us adding to it with our own prejudices and projected life goals.</p> <p>So, in short, I refuse to give in to the new age movement of refusing to allow my children to feel or experience any negetivity in their lives. I am not the parent who is going to shield them from everything in life. I am not going to tell them that they "can achieve all their dreams" and that the only thing stopping them is themselves. This is total bull, in my opinion.</p> <p>We all have dreams and goals but little things like, oh, I don't know, MONEY, for example, have a habit of getting in the way of those little chestnuts. I actually find that those new catchphrases which our social media outlets are bombarded with daily do more harm than good, leaving us wondering well why aren't I driving that yellow Lamborghini down the highway? I must be a failure. I don't have enough self-belief to succeed like everyone else!</p> <p>The truth is, I might want desperately to be a top athlete but my back is <em>fecked</em> from having four children, my size 34 DD &nbsp;boobs are constantly in my way as I try to run, leaving my shoulders in excruciating pain. &nbsp;No amount of self-belief will change these physical, concrete facts. What I can do is to focus on my individual strengths instead of wasting time dreaming about the impossible.</p> <p>There are lots of things that I am really good at and can and have succeeded in, as my daughters will, but I won't allow them waste their time dreaming about becoming a top model( I really don't think this is on their to-do list anyway) when it is nothing short of a genetic lottery which certainly will not favor this Irish woman's "child- bearing hips" physique or her offspring, for that matter.</p> <p>I will focus my kids on their strengths and nourish those instead. My kids know that they can follow their dreams, but within reason!I feel that it's actually okay to have limits and that it's precisely those limits which in some way define us. I will do anything I can to help them realize their goals, and if telling them the odd harsh truth along the way is necessary, then so be it!</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Health Family Fri, 24 Jun 2016 21:19:09 +0000 B2EPHEMERAL 2401352 at Open Relationships are Unique to Each Couple <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="color: #000000;">The concept of opening a relationship is a scary one for many. </span></p><p><strong><span style="color: #000000;">How do we go about doing this?<br /> Where do we find people? Is this going to destroy our relationship?</span></strong></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">There is no manual on how to have an open relationship, just as there is no manual on how your life is going to unfold over time. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Until you make a first step into opening it up, you can never know what is going to happen and how you are going to feel.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">And the first step is going to be a small one, just like life, one step at a time. No expectations or preconceptions of what is going to happen. </span></p><p><strong><span style="color: #000000;">This is an area of life you are going to feel your way through.</span></strong></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">I have been in an open relationship for 7 years, after 15 years of monogamous marriage. It started off with him exploring his bisexual side. Then we tried threesomes for a while which was fun and exploratory. We met other couples who became lovers and friends. I later desired my own personal adventures so I began seeing a man who I cared about, spending time with him every few weeks. </span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Love bubbled up into the picture and we had to deal with those intense feelings. My partner expanded into meeting other women. All sorts of new emotions came up for me. We continue to play out our different desires as they change, allowing each other the opportunity to learn about ourselves, sexuality, love. &nbsp;We support each other through the incredible highs and the difficult lows.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Of all the many couples I have met exploring in an open relationship, there is not one couple I have met or worked with who is in the same situation. Each couple develops and unfolds what works best for them. They work together designing their relationship based on individual desires and partnership dynamics.</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="Open Relationships are Unique to Each Couple" /><br /><em>Image: Miki Yoshito via <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">Flickr</a></em></p><p><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Some couples create more rules and boundaries so they can feel an element of safety and security.</span></strong></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Carol and Chris are presently only playing together. They enjoy having another woman join them for an evening or often they create a stronger bond with someone and invite them in as their new girlfriend.</span></p><p><strong><span style="color: #000000;">Other couples have opened the door wide open, giving each other full freedom to explore as each would like.</span></strong></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Jean and Bill are a loving, sexually active couple. They each have different sexual interests. He is bisexual and enjoys playing in the BDSM community. She is heterosexual and polyamorous enjoying the company of a number of sensual lovers of whom she manages around her life with Bill.</span></p><p><strong><span style="color: #000000;">For one couple, opening their relationship became a necessity to sexual fulfillment.</span></strong></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Judy and Brett have been together for 15 years and not having very satisfactory sex for the last 8 of those years decided to seek a different dynamic. Now each of them have separate lovers, exploring as they want, when they want. As a couple they rarely have sex but they share everything else a married couple might: experiences, travel, finances, raising of children. They are much happier and fulfilled in ways they never expected.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;"><strong>Other couples have decided to open their relationship because of differing sexual libidos</strong>.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">He is not interested in sex, leaning towards being asexual. She wants to explore sexually and desires experiences. They want to stay together so the worked out a situation where she can visit a lover once a week to fulfill her sexual needs while he pursues other passions. It is working very well and they have never been happier.</span></p><p><strong><span style="color: #ff00ff;">An open relationship does not mean anything to anyone except to you and your partner.</span></strong></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Take it one step at a time as you make your way through figuring out what works best for the two of you.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Be open to possibilities and to change.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Be flexible and know that it is OK to create any scenario the two of you are wanting.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Keep communication open, discussing how each step felt, where you shall further explore, what worked and didn’t work.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">Many of us have been emotionally living in a relationship BOX for a long time – <span style="color: #ff00ff;">Long Term, Monogamous, Heterosexual</span>. It does not work for many.</span></p><p><span style="color: #000000;">When you enter into an open relationship, you are free from the traditional construct. Free to be that unique couple, exploring, discovering and enhancing your intimate sexual lives to places you never thought possible.</span></p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Love & Sex # love #couples #marriage #relationships #advice Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:32:03 +0000 LiannaWalden 2397281 at What Do You Eat Before You Run? <!--paging_filter--><p>I get asked constantly what to eat just before a run. This is actually a very difficult question to answer because everyone is so different.</p> <p>I know people who prefer to run on an empty stomach, and those who like to eat minutes before a run. If you're an eater, the general recommendation is to eat something high in carbohydrates and moderate in fat, protein and fiber about 1-1.5 hrs before a run. The reason behind this is to provide your body with carbohydrates for energy and to avoid foods that may cause gastrointestinal distress.</p> <p>...We've all had those fun, unexpected bathroom trips mid run, right?</p> <p>What you eat before a run also depends on how long/far you are planning on running. I think if you are going to be running for under 60 minutes, you really don't need to eat anything before you run. But if you're going to be doing a long run, your body definitely needs some fuel.</p> <p>Remember this varies from person to person. I need food to even run 1 mile and my boyfriend runs half marathons without eating anything.</p> <p>The bottom line is that you really have to find what works best for you. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.</p> <p>Try eating 1 hr before your next 5 mile run and see if you have more energy than usual? Get stomach cramps... maybe try eating something different or don't eat at all.</p> <p>Again, everyone is very different and it's so important to find what works for YOU!</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="what do you eat before a run" /></center></p> <p>To help answer the very difficult question of what to eat before a run, I reached out to my running community for some help.</p> <p><b>Here's what they suggested to eat before running:</b></p> <p> <ul> <li>Oatmeal or a banana and tablespoon of peanut butter</li> <li>Greek yogurt</li> <li>Peanut butter toast</li> <li>Oatmeal and a banana</li> <li>Avocado/banana every time (I had to ask if he ate just a plain avocado or smashed it onto toast, and he said just a whole avocado... OKAY! Super down for any excuse to eat a whole avocado!)</li> <li>Toast with a little peanut butter and half a banana if it's a longer run. If it's a shorter run (7 miles or less), I don't usually eat.</li> <li>Usually just a banana with peanut butter to coat my stomach</li> <li>I like to eat half an avocado and a glass of almond milk. Any more than that, and I get stomach cramps</li> <li>I like to have Vega pre-workout 30 mins before, and an hour before, I have a green apple with almond butter</li> <li>A banana</li> </ul> </p> <p>Not all of these follow the general guideline of being high in carbs and moderate in protein, fat and fiber, but like we discussed above, every single person is different.</p> <p>By the way... am I the only one who is very intrigued by eating a whole avocado before a run? I may just have to try that out.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="what do you eat before a run" /></center></p> <p>Personally I like to get full before I run. Like really full! I have no idea why, and that's why I asked other people for their opinion because I think I'm a little bit crazy.</p> <p><b>Here's what I eat before a run:</b></p> <p>If I'm running 3-8 miles, I like to eat a lite <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Perfect Bar</a> (cranberry crunch or almond acai) or a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="ÄRABAR-16-Flavor-Variety-Pack-16/dp/B007NMDY38" class="external-link">Lara Bar</a> about 30 minutes before I run.</p> <p>For the marathon training I've been doing where I'm running anywhere from 9-22 miles, I ALWAYS eat a <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Bobo's Oat Bar</a>. For 15 miles or less I only eat about 3/4 of it, but for my big runs, you bet I'm eating all 400 calories of that delicious bar seconds before I start running.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="what do you eat before a run" /></center></p> <p><b>Your turn:</b><br /> <b>What do you eat before a run/workout?</b><br /> <b>When do you eat before a run/ workout?</b><br /> <b>Any funny stories about maybe trying a new food before a workout and needing a bathroom break?</b></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Food Health pre run food run running fuel Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:51:03 +0000 LiveLeanEatGreen 2393522 at 3 Ways to Keep Your Readers Engaged <!--paging_filter--><p>Blogging has become a part of everyone's life today. From companies to entrepreneurs and even housewives, writing and sharing information through blogs has become a medium to grow one's brand and make money as well. Far too often, personal bloggers or companies have a blog that is sporadically updated with a random post or two, but they don't consistently write.</p> <p>While most people start out with a spree to update their blog with fresh content, they fight to gain attention and they fall back. Their blog neither gets visitors nor do they enjoy as much attention as they deserve. </p> <p>They spend a lot of time crafting a superb blog post, but all of it goes to waste when the most powerful marketing tool, their blog, does not function as they want it to. Even when they gain readers, engagement is what they can't keep hold of, which in turn, never gets the reader back to their site again.</p> <p>Here are a few tips to keep readers engaged and make them come back, read and share the post in the future.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="dive into storytelling to keep readers" /></center></p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Lauren Mancke</a> via Unsplash</i></center></p> <p> <h1>Learn the power of story-telling</h1> </p> <p>There are some blogs which might not have many readers. However, everyone can grab more attention through the power of story-telling.</p> <p>Ask yourself what is the story in the information you're tying to convey? Tell an anecdote.</p> <p>Similarly, blog posts with images are said to work much better than blog posts with words only. Try adding a few more images to your posts.</p> <p> <h1>Keep things simple</h1> </p> <p>Good bloggers are the ones who've mastered the craft of writing a great blog post. They are able to understand what their readers want to learn. Sometimes, they act like a reader themselves and judge their blog to determine if it's good to go. </p> <p>Avoid jargon to make things simple. If there are industry terms, explain them. Not only this will expand your readership and social shares, it will also boost your search engine rankings, giving you more visibility.</p> <p> <h1>Provide a summary</h1> </p> <p>A lot of online readers don't read the whole post. In order to get them hooked, provide a brief conclusion to what your blog post was about and what details you presented.</p> <p>Also, ask questions at the end as a reminder or a scene hanger. Learn to ask 'What now?' or 'What if' and seek their opinion.</p> <p>The bottom line: You never should forget to write in-depth content to keep your readers engaged. Keep things simple, ask questions and try to answer them. It might take some time, however, in the long-run, people will absolutely love to hear from you.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Blogging & Social Media #blogging #blogger #blogging tips #content marketing Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:49:26 +0000 Grishma 2352943 at Why Are People So Shocked When They Learn Who the Rapist Is? <!--paging_filter--><p>I am a prosecutor, and I want you to know that RAPISTS are not simply the people that kidnap you, put you in the trunk of a car, or rape you in an alley.</p> <p><center><img src="" alt="Why Are People So Shocked When They Learn Who the Rapist Is?" /><br /><em>Public domain image via Pixabay</em></center></p> <p>In fact, over the last eight years that I’ve been an attorney, most rapists I’ve met wouldn’t even come close to that definition. Most of the rapists I’ve prosecuted are well known to their victims.</p><p> They’re often who most people wouldn’t ever suspect. They have jobs. They go to school. They’re married or in committed relationships. They have children. They’ve never been in trouble before. </p><p>They’re who most people would describe as good people. Most people say they’re “shocked” when the rapist is charged.</p> <p><center><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="There is no typical rapist or victim. " width="281" height="422" /></center></p> <p>I know. You’re thinking, “What the heck? She has no idea what she’s talking about.” But I promise I do.</p><p>The rapist I know is the neighbor who lived next door for years.</p><p>The rapist I know is the stepfather who thinks he’s owed something.</p><p>The rapist I know is the guy the victim has had a crush on, and he just doesn’t stop when she says no.</p><p>Rapists are not just scary people in the dark.</p><p>Making excuses for individuals who commit a heinous crime is inexcusable. The fact that the father of the recently sentenced Stanford rapist made <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">reference</a> that “20 minutes of action” wasn’t worth a prison sentence makes me sick. </p><p>Victims of rape deal with the trauma, shame, &amp; hurt for a LIFETIME. Twenty years would’ve been a drop in the bucket.</p><p>Sexual assault is a problem everywhere. It knows no boundaries. I’ve seen victims of every race, age, socioeconomic background, education level, neighborhood, &amp; more.</p><p> I’ve seen victims cry when I’ve questioned them. I’ve seen some victims laugh. I’ve seen some parents of victims be supportive and advocate for their child. I’ve seen others deny that anything happened so they wouldn’t lose their income. I’ve seen some victims disclose right away. Others have never told another soul.</p><p>There is no such thing as a typical rapist. There is no such thing as a typical victim.</p><p>Sexual assault is more prevalent than you know. I GUARANTEE that you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, whether you know it or not. I also GUARANTEE that you know someone who has sexually assaulted.</p><p>Sexual violence is not just a problem for other people. It’s a problem for you and me and everyone.</p><p>Believe me. I know. I wish I didn’t.</p><hr /><p>And parents – talk to your children. Today. Tonight. Don’t wait until you think they’re old enough to have the conversation about consent or to learn about sex. Teach them that NO ONE has the right to touch them inappropriately or in ANY way that makes them uncomfortable. Teach them what "YES" means. Teach them what "NO" means. Teach them that sometimes "NO" isn’t just the word "NO." It’s complicated. It’s uncomfortable. &nbsp;But your children need to hear it.</p><p>I need for your children to hear it.</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> News & Entertainment Feminism rape sexual assault victim Thu, 23 Jun 2016 18:18:50 +0000 bitchybutbubbly 2392863 at Overcoming a Mother's Devotion to Follow My Own Dreams <!--paging_filter-->This past Mother’s Day, I rode my bicycle two cities over, slicing through humidity and foreboding; both of which felt so thick and heavy that I may as well have been treading water. &nbsp;Despite this, I was resolved to reach my destination and pay my dues. I was headed to my mother’s house to visit with her and three of my four brothers. &nbsp;This was because, essentially, the calendar told me that I should<p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="699" /></p> <P>Bear was in from Gainesville, where he’s recently begun medical school at the University of Florida. Bear will be the second of my mother’s children to become a doctor. He is her third-born child. &nbsp;</p> <p>My brother Paul, is already a practicing Pediatrician living in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife and children. Paul is her second-born child and the first of my mother’s children to become a doctor. As far as birth order is concerned, I am the first of my mother’s children, but I am not a doctor, third, fourth, or fifth. <em>Do you see the problem here?</em> And not only am I her first-born, but I am her only girl. <em>Do you feel the tension building?</em></p> <p>From an anthropological standpoint, one might argue that there’s this society-implied responsibility of dream fulfillment; one that exists in order to make a certain type of mother proud, satisfied. And by that theory, it’s a daughter’s birthright, whether she chooses to accept it or not. </p> <p>Looking through my baby books, my mother’s devotion to me is clearly evident. Milestones and other details are painstakingly recorded and my pictures are neatly arranged. When I reached school age, she was extremely proactive regarding my education. There was an endless supply of workbooks, reading material, and study guides to supplement the standard curriculum. She even advocated I.Q. testing for my admission to the Gifted and Talented program. &nbsp;</p><p> </p><p>However, the focus on academia&nbsp;was less gentle encouragement and more a mild form of fascism which fostered perpetual anxiety, hypervigilance, and neuroses that remain with me today. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p> </p><p>Additionally, she was a champion of guiding me through extracurricular activities, namely in the form of beauty pageants, local playhouse theater, movie or television casting auditions, and other pursuits that have&nbsp;typical, predictable endings. &nbsp;</p> <p>So, in a way, my mother was equal parts Tiger Mom and Stage Mom, with a straight-forward manner and eye so discerning that there was no doubt in my mind I possessed the capability to disappoint her.</p> <p>My mother and I projected a hyperbolic representation of this ridiculous cliche up until I became very ill with my first major bout of Anorexia, and by then, the only approval I was interested in was that of the voice in my head, telling me to reach a new goal weight. &nbsp;</p> <p>Because I was so blinded by naivety and desperation for her praise and acceptance during my formative childhood years, I’d failed to understand what was at stake. By focusing solely on conquering the dreams my mother had hand-picked for me, I hadn’t considered establishing any of my own.</p> <p>I was thinking all of these things, realizing these things at that the age of 33. &nbsp;</p> <p>Bear, who’d been in the living room with my mother and two youngest brothers, walked in just then. &nbsp;“I think I might be having an existential crisis,” I said to him.</p> <p>“I’m making pancakes,” he announced&nbsp;as if he hadn’t heard me. He deftly moved through the kitchen, sorting and mixing the ingredients, &nbsp;then finally setting the pan on the range.</p> <p>I hadn’t moved. &nbsp;</p> <p>“C’mon, Kristen, don’t you want a pancake?”</p> <p>“Fine, ok, whatever, I’ll take one if you’ll stop harassing me.”</p> <p>Bear&nbsp;poured a small amount of batter in the pan and waited a few minutes. &nbsp;He carefully flipped the pancake over, and then, a minute later&nbsp;slid it onto a paper plate and handed it to me. “Here”, he said, “bring that outside and give it to Trixie,” he said, referring to his Irish setter, who’d been pacing the screened-in pool area, but, anticipating a treat, was now standing at attention by the french doors.</p> <p>“What’s wrong with this one?” I asked. &nbsp;“Don’t you want it?” &nbsp;</p> <p>“No, goof, that one’s all messed up, see? It’s, like, both burned <strong><em>and</em></strong> raw. &nbsp;It’s the test pancake; you make a test pancake to see if you’ve got the pan at the perfect temperature yet. &nbsp;Everybody knows you throw out the first pancake.” &nbsp;</p> <p>He shoved the plate at me. &nbsp;“Go on, you’re torturing Trixie.”</p> <p>I carried the plate out to the patio, walking slowly. Trixie smiled her doggie smile at me. &nbsp;</p> <p>I sat down on a deck chair with the plate in my lap, looking down at the pancake. It wasn't that&nbsp;burned. &nbsp;</p><p>I sat down on a deck chair with the plate in my lap and looked down at the pancake. It was burned. With my bare hands, I ripped the pancake in half. &nbsp;A little raw batter oozed out as I handed it over to Trixie’s gaping maw. She gobbled the first half in seconds. Then, without even thinking about it, I folded up the &nbsp;second half as small as I could make it and crammed the entire thing into my mouth. &nbsp;</p> <p>I allowed myself to acknowledge that I was burned and raw too, but no throw-away pancake. I suddenly felt ready to tell my mom I’ll never be a doctor, but I’ve got my own dream now and it’s to be a writer. &nbsp;</p><p> </p><p>I moved the huge mass of burned yet raw bread into the pouch of my right cheek, like a chipmunk. &nbsp;</p> <p>Chewing vigorously, I headed back into the house, my beauty pageant walk on point. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><a class="external-link" href=";" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"></a>,&nbsp;<a class="external-link external-link" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link">@saltandpepperth</a></a>,</p><p><a class="external-link external-link" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">instagram</a>, or visit her author page&nbsp;<a class="external-link external-link" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><div class="bh-share-icons-node-wrapper"><img src="" alt="" width="212" height="212" /><div class="bh-share-icons-node">&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;Kristen Polito&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><a class="external-link external-link" href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Work & Life Family family Siblings Tiger Mom Thu, 23 Jun 2016 16:29:06 +0000 KRISTENPOLITO 2381228 at How to Cut a Watermelon <!--paging_filter--><p>Watermelon is my favorite summer fruit. It’s hydrating, refreshing and sweet. It’s a large fruit and can easily get away from you, so in honor of this momentous occasion, I’m going to show you my favorite way to cut one up.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Start off by standing on one end, stem side up, and cut right down the middle. Mine was pretty flat on the top and bottom, but if it’s not, slice a little off the top and bottom to create a more stable surface.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Now we have to halves.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Place those face down on the cutting board, and slice in half again, with the stripes of the fruit.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Now you have something that resembles a boat. Slice down from the top to make even vertical slices&nbsp;all the way to the rind.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Now make a few horizontal slices, again all the way to the rind.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Carefully take your knife and run it along the rind as close as you can get.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>Keep going all the way through the fruit.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="" alt="" width="550" height="367" /></p><p>And just like that, your watermelon chunks com right off. Repeat the process with the rest of the watermelon slices.</p><p>Now&nbsp;get out to the store, pick up a big juicy watermelon&nbsp;and celebrate&nbsp;summer right!</p><p>Sarah 'n Spice</p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></p><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Lifestyle Food DIY & Home how-to Tips watermelon Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:59:53 +0000 Sarah 'n Spice 2137455 at