Thursday, July 30, 2009

Doin My Part

I am not the person ANYONE would describe as "green", however, I am trying to get there. I've started with small changes like recycling plastic and paper trash, using reusable cloth bags to haul groceries home and observing Earth Day by shutting off all my lights and electronics that use electricity... all to help this planet. And while I'm not as amazing as the couple that reduced their trash to nothing for one full year, the small changes that I have made a part of day to day life gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling that I'm doing my part! :)

So, recycling wasn't too terribly difficult to create into a habit since the city I live in provides me with a recycling dumpster to fill that gets picked up once a week. Had that not been the case, that "green" change might have taken me a little longer to perfect.

Earth Day: Just a super fun hour of peace, quiet and candle light!

The cloth bags have been another animal all together. I found the most AMAZING reusable bags to use when lugging my groceries home. I actually found them on a home shopping channel and thought they were the greatest invention to cut back on plastic usage. However, it took time to answer, "I have my own" when asked, "paper or plastic?" Part of the reason this particular change took me so long is that, at the time, not many people were utilizing reusable bags for their grocery shopping. I was embarrassed that it might take the cashier a little longer to bag my items because I brought my own bag and the others in line behind me would get irritated. To my surprise, the first time I used my handy, dandy, cooler-than-any-other-bag, bags at the grocery store, it actually DID take me much longer in line. But not because supplying my own reusable bags slowed the cashier or the bagger's processes... it was because EVERYONE loved my bags and stopped to ask me where I got them. Well, I'm blogging today to fill everyone in on where you can get them for yourself and why you need to. These bags really are all that... AND a bag of chips!!!! First of all they fold up and secure with Velcro so that you can easily carry them in your purse. The plastic handle has a super nifty quarter holder for use at the grocery stores that require a 25 cent deposit to use the shopping carts (which is a GENIUS idea to ensure that your shopping carts get returned to the proper locations). These totally tubular (what?!? I'm a child of the 80's) bag handles also clip to the side of your shopping cart for easy loading and unloading. And finally, each of the bags holds approximately the equivalent of four of the grocer’s plastic bags (and I believe the manufacturer actually says that each bag holds up to 40 pounds). I love, love, love my shopping bags. I love that I'm one step closer to "green", and I certainly love all the attention I get because of these beauties. The handles on my reusable bags make carrying my groceries into my house WAY more comfortable since the plastic bags tend to painfully cut off the circulation to my fingers while trying to take in all my groceries with just one trip... you know you do it too! And I love never having to worry about bags ripping because the material the bags are made with almost feels like canvas.

These reusable shopping bags get a super high five from me... not just because of the amazingly smart design of these bags, but because they increase my popularity while at the same time get me a little closer to "green". Oh, and P.S., now that everyone is using reusable grocery bags, my local market gives me a 5 cent credit for each bag! Just another bonus. You can find these "high five" wonders on sale.... here!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'll Take The Harmony

Balance is a word that I removed from my vocabulary some time ago when I attended a Quantum Physics seminar. Due to the state of "non-movement" when something is "balanced", I happily opt for... harmony (and come on! Musically/poetically speaking, harmony sounds better anyway) because I'm not in any rush to be in a state of non-movement. For me, the project started with my diet.

I have honestly found that harmony is easier to find when I've completed the Master Cleanse. I read Stanley Burroughs' book, The Master Cleanser, paying attention to his thoughts on what he believes the human diet should be for optimum health. Could there REALLY be a correlation between the food we eat and our mental health? Absolutely!!! Feeling tired and dragged down effects everything in your life. If you too want harmony in your life you might want to give a little internal "house cleaning" a try and see how you feel. Certainly, clear it with your doctor first, but for me, the clearing of the digestive tract and just giving my body a break from having to process food for a while centers me. I get energy like I've never known and I get an unbelievable feeling of zen that I really can't properly put into words here, but I'll try to give you a little snippet. I have to make it through the first four days of the cleanse before zen sets in, but it's always worth the wait. The first three days of The Master Cleanse is always hard for me, but I make it through because of day four and that amazing feeling of serenity and relaxation and the feeling of really being awake in the mind, body and spirit. I also have a really incredible sense of optimism. Not that I'm a negative person, but zen brings with it a swollen heart that truly believes all things are possible. I personally believe that is why fasting and meditation are practiced in just about every religion known to man. God basically gave us a direct connection... hahahahaha... so to speak.

Now, be forewarned if you read The Master Cleanser to begin the cleanse... Mr. Burroughs believes in a raw diet once the cleanse is complete. I have got to be honest; an exclusively raw food diet DOES NOT appeal to me or my quest for harmony. I do think too much of a good thing is bad in that it creates deficits elsewhere. And meat is not bad! Leviticus 11: 1-23 gives a very clear description of animals we can eat and ones we shouldn't. What IS bad are the growth hormones and antibiotics and pesticides and alien additives and improper preparation for meat and vegetable. So I make sure that the fruit and veggies in my diet are ORGANIC raw foods post cleanse.

One of my favorite resources for learning about food and our overall health is from a Bible study course called Living in Divine Health: Wisdom of the Ages by Ted Broer. It makes sense to me that physical harmony with my food is basically a formula of cooking meat to kill what your body shouldn't have and not cooking fruit and veggies to keep alive what your body SHOULD have so that my body is only ever processing the very best of everything. And to keep this "machine" running properly, I "reset" it once a year (soon to be twice a year) with the cleanse. It's something that is working wonders for me and I can't see letting it go any time soon.

*** Holy Organic, Kosher, Raw Guacamole Batman! Where do I start? Well, if you're thinking about introducing organic raw foods into your diet, get the recipe book that contains the most dessert recipes! It's a great place to start and gets the support of the fam! Too funny!

Healthy Pizza

Welp... I'm on vacation. I alotted 3 days to be bad and eat whatever I want. Boy did I ever! Yuck! I feel nasty, and bloated and just generally "out of whack"! So today will be a light eating day. Oh how I wish I would have just gotten the supplies I needed to do The Master Cleanse...

Damage control: Healthy Pizza (it's what's for dinner! LOL!)

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 C. of olive oil

Blend until smooth in the Magic Bullet. Expect to have some left over to store for future pizzas.

  • 2 Mission Carb Balance tortilla shells (I use 2 small, but you can use 1 large)
  • Thinly sliced mushrooms
  • Thinly chopped bell peppers (all colors)
  • Diced onion
  • Thinly sliced zucchini
  • Diced Cabbage (any color)
  • Non Fat Mozorella cheese
  • Any other vegetable that you prefer sliced thin... make sure not to use veggies that are too wet, as that will keep the tortilla from crisping. And be sure that you don't overload the tortilla, or you might have a hard time picking it up to eat... remember... it's a finger food!
  • Turkey pepperoni

**Note: I always try to use organic vegetables.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tortilla shells on non stick cookie sheet leaving about a 1 inch space between the two. Brush garlic/olive oil mixture over the top of the shells. Thinly spread a nice mixture of prepared veggies, enough to cover the surface of the shells. Top with thin layer of cheese and finally pepperoni. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the pizza are crispy, golden brown.

Ok folks... this pizza is better than the real thing! It is beyond tasty. It may not be a good substitute for those of you thick crust die-hards, but I LOVE a thin crispy crust, so these crunchy tortillas hit the spot. The cheese is every bit as gooey as the real thing and with all those fresh vegetables, this one is WAY better than any pizza take out I've ever had! :)

Time Savings Tip: At the beginning of every week, I rough chop/slice veggies to use throughout the week and store them in a deli saver container from Tupperware. It saves me a ton of time prepping in the kitchen throughout the week. For onions, I usually store slices, that way if a recipe calls for diced, chopped or long strip onions, I can spend the two seconds finishing them accordingly. Bell peppers I slice into long strips and store. I store zucchini in slices. Very rarely does zucchini ever need to be prepped any further than that. Those three veggies are my staples.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Got My Healthy Game On.... YO!

So, I've found some new fun in fitness.... the Wii! First of all, let me start by saying that when you change your lifestyle from sedentary to active, it is important to incorporate changes that will stick. And for me... this Wii will be sticking around for quite some time! The fact that this video game is played by your body movements alone should be winning the Pulitzer Prize for turning around the obesity epidemic in this country by introducing physical activity BACK into our kids lives! Whew! That was a super run on sentence! hahahaha!

Earlier this week I got the balance board for the Wii. It included a game called Wii Fit. I have read quite a few reviews on the Wii Fit complaining that it doesn't include full exercise segments. In my opinion this game is lacking nothing because it is simply introducing fun exercise into our inactive lives and into our child's life. In a day and age when kids are typically found on their bottoms in front of a video game, eyes seemingly in a trance for hours on end... it would be stupid to give them exercise segments and "kill" the gaming experience. Instead, introduce games where THEY are the controller/joystick moving a table to direct balls into a hole, or skiing through an obstacle course or making a perfect 183 meter ski jump (my personal best so far), or taking a cleat to the head while dodging soccer balls you're supposed to be tagging with your Mii's head. Yah, this GAME works up a sweat and honestly, my drive to "clear this level" made an hour fly by... no segmenting required. During "break" times, I would try the yoga or strength training. Again, the introduction to real exercise for a kid who probably got very little over the course of years is not only smart, but could just be changing the health of our children and reprogramming them with the idea that exercise, like video games, is fun.

Now, I personally would like to see a game with full exercise segments like the other reviewers have mentioned, but I am not at all opposed to paying for the separate game (Wii Fit Plus) when it comes out in October (???... check with your local gaming store). There are talks that the Wii Fit Plus will actually be integrated into the Wii Fit bundle with the balance board... the original Wii Fit game will be phased out. I don't necessarily know that will be a good thing. I certainly hope the "spirit" of the original isn't lost in translation. I'm praying that the segmented exercise is only going to be an option, cuz after all, this IS just a game and our kids need their healthy game on.... YO!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Do I Really Need Reminding... Apparently So!

OK gang! I have not run away or fallen off the earth, I've been taking a little break. I've been out in the forest getting in touch with my inner nature girl. And BOY have I been roughing it! I already broke a nail, and there is not a lick of cuticle cream in sight! All kidding aside, this particular trip out of the heat reminds me how important hydration really is! In the cooler climates we sometimes forget to drink our water. This is probably the single most important nail growth tip that I have learned over the past 8 months.... dehydration=broken nails. It's as simple as that!...

I have also noticed that my breathing has been shallow, and for how long, I don't know. I do know that it's been a while. But now I'm out in the forest, it's been raining the past couple of days, and the earthy smell is HEAVEN! I am really breathing it in.... and I'm noticing that I've been missing those deep breaths. The strong, invigorating breaths that only come from moments of calm and peace. I remembered today that I've been a little lax on taking that "down" time. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the day to day we forget how important it is to stop and find your peace. Maybe some of us don't EVER do that. Yah, I'm remembering today how desperately my body, my health and my life need that. So, that is what I will be working on next week. I'm "purposing" some time for myself to relax, hydrate, find my peace and take a few deep breaths. I hate it when I forget to breath. The hardest part will be remembering to do it AWAY from this beautiful and natural surrounding.... I just don't see how aromatherapy could get any better than this... those wonderful cool pines of the forest!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

DIY Acrylic Dip Nails

This is my product review for an acrylic dip nail kit that I bought at Sally's Beauty Supply. I wasn't necessarily looking to do my own acrylic nails, but while shopping for a new nail file, I came across this kit and it seemed too good to be true.
Here is what the kit looks like:
The directions were VERY easy to understand and the process was pretty simple as well, but I found that there were a couple of items that were not included in the kit that (thankfully) I had.... because they were needed! The items that I used that were not included are shown here to the left of the kit.

I used the yellow buffer block for two things. First, to remove the shine from my nail before I started and to buff the finished acrylic nail when I was done. The included nail file is just entirely too course to use on my real nail before gluing the french white tip on. I tried it and the included file really tore up my nail. And being that it is the only file that comes with the kit, it's also too rough to get a smooth finish on the acrylic when you're done applying. The orange buffer block is even finer than the yellow one and gave the acrylic a very nice shine. The final thing that I found that was missing from this kit was an orange stick, or something to clean around the edge of the nail. I had already completed one hand without this nifty tool. The hand the got its benefit, looks much nicer (that hand was used for my "finished" photo...hahahaha!). Here's what they look like:

Now, let me start by saying that I have NEVER done my own acrylic nails before. And while these are not the prettiest nails that I've ever had, I can honestly say that I HAVE paid people who made my nails look exactly like this (even cutting my middle finger filing! Ouch, it's still red and hurts.). So I'm convinced that if I were to continue using this product, my technique would get better and, therefore, my nails would look amazing! If you click on the pic above, the picture will be enlarged in a new screen showing the "bubbles" inside the acrylic. After I was done, I reread the instructions and realized that I hadn't waited the directed amount of time between dips.... I think that might be the cause of the bubbles. Beyond that I'm VERY impressed with this product. You literally glue on the french white tip, brush glue over entire nail, dip into acrylic and spritz on the activator (which hardens and cures the acrylic).... file, buff and you're done. The finished product this first time around also turned out a little flat, so if I ever do attempt this again, I think that I will do two "dips" and then apply the brush on glue only where the natural arch goes and then dip a third time. That will require more filing though, so I would probably pick up some extra files as well. Yah, this product gets a high five, I just wish that everything I needed was included.
Oh, and one last mention. This kit cost me about $13 and for that money included enough product for two full white french tip sets as well as enough acrylic, glue and curing solution to do another 4 or 5 sets without tips beyond that. So for the money... yah, this is a really good deal and really easy to do!

Sweet & Spicy Chicken w/ Whole Wheat Pasta Salad

Wow! It's been a while since my last healthy recipe post. That speaks volumes on how I've been eating lately! Well, I put my nose back to the grindstone and I'm back with a healthy vengeance! :)

This is my healthy Sweet & Spicy Chicken with Whole Wheat Pasta Salad. This turned out SOOOO much better than I expected. I hope everyone here loves it as much as I did.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken w/Whole Wheat Pasta Salad

  • 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp organic cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of crushed red peppers (if you're sensitive to spice, you should omit)
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tbsp dried onion flakes
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp water
  • 4 Tbsp low calorie Sweet and Sour Sauce

Preheat oven to 365 degrees. In a flat dish combine dry ingredients and blend together with a fork. Create egg wash by whisking egg whites and water together. Dip a piece of chicken into the egg wash. Remove from egg wash and place in the flat dish to completely coat one side of the breast with the dry mixture. Place the piece of chicken on a cookie sheet with the coated side of the breast facing up. Lightly spray the top of the coated chicken with olive oil spray making sure the spray is not too close to the flour mixture coating. If the spray is too close, it will cause the coating to spray right off your chicken. I use a refillable MISTO oil spray can that I fill with olive oil, hold it about 10-12 inches above the chicken and spray lightly. Repeat with each piece and bake for 30 minutes. The last few minutes in the oven, turn the heat to broil until crispy golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before drizzling 1 Tbsp of sweet and sour sauce over each breast.

Pasta Salad
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta noodles (about 13 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Pepper (all colors)
  • Radishes
  • Diced Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • 2-3 Tbsp of White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dill
  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste
To a pot of boiling water add olive oil and noodles. Stir frequently (the oil in the water coats each noodle to prevent sticking and add flavor), drain when noodles are al dente; do not rinse. Rough chop all veggies. The great thing about pasta salad is that you can add as little or as many veggies as you want. I usually add about 1-2 cups of each veggie (depending on the size of storage bowl I have handy..hahaha). Combine everything and stir. The oil that is left on the drained noodles is the only oil in my salad; I enjoy a refreshing pasta salad. But if you would like a more savory pasta salad, feel free to mix a little olive oil with the vinegar.

I hope you all enjoy this super yummy, super healthy meal!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Plan For Success!

I have had great success losing weight and getting my health back. This post is really only one key, but I've found that for me it is the most important! Journaling: The Master Plan and it works!

I have put it to the test! When I skip journaling my workouts and food intake,and skip planning my days ahead of time, I spend the day fighting urges and eating without thinking. That mindless eating we all know and love (not so much). There's something about just knowing you have a plan and are accountable to it that makes sticking to it so much easier. And in the rare occurrence that I slip and miss a meal or give in to the urge to eat those dang cupcakes that Judy brought in to work today (there's a "Judy" where ever we work, isn't there?), I don't need to panic because there's a plan of action that I have set in place the night before to give me the structure to get back on track. I will share with you the tools I use for planning at the end of this post.

Creating a plan takes me all of about 15 minutes right before bed, but it gives me a winning mindset as well as starts the structure for my journal the next day. Have you ever felt foggy first thing in the morning, unable to think let alone begin accomplishing anything? I used to suffer with that. Now I don't have to think at all when I wake up, all the thinking was done the night before! It's that freedom to NOT think and therefore NOT talk myself out of the workout that makes the planning so successful for me. I basically 'program' my future success every night. I follow through with that programming the next day when I start my day by putting on my sneakers and heading to the gym FIRST THING! I have my first success for the day within 15 minutes of waking as I head out the door. And then when I'm done, I go to my journal and record that workout. If I skipped it, I record that too. And now, thanx to the Fitness and Weight Management Plan (the latest and greatest book that I just read), I no longer beat myself up when journaling a missed workout! Yay! But it's a seemingly non-occurrence when I am journaling.... as I said, I put it to the test.

Another importance to creating my plan before going to bed is so that I can commit, in writing, the night before, that I will complete the thing that I am most likely to skip the next day. It's called the "Eat Your Frog" principal and not only has it helped me be successful with weightloss, it has also made my days ultra productive. According to, exercising first thing in the morning fires up your metabolism, sort of sparking that fat burning pilot light for the day. But MY reason for exercising first thing in the morning is to just get it done so it can't be skipped later! And for some reason, this feeling of accomplishment first thing in the morning gives me a drive to continue that success throughout the day. It's amazing.

Well, as I've said in a previous post, I prescribe to the Body For Life lifestyle. This program for me is so complete and even comes with free journals that I access online. You too can find them here. These journals truly chart my progress as well as plan for my future success. Because after all, what's the old saying, when we fail to plan, we plan to fail? Yah, I plan to succeed!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What's Your Poison

This is an excerpt (pg. 233) from Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenny and Sarma Melngailis. It is an amazing recipe book, but beyond that, it is filled with incredible "health" tips.

Cutting Out Coffee

It might be hard to picture beginning a morning or ending an evening meal without coffee. As a beverage, it really isn't that old: coffee was only first embraced in the thirteenth century by somnolent Arab monks who couldn't keep their minds on their prayers. From there, it was introduced to Europeans in the seventeenth century. Despite its common acceptance in our lives, coffee--and the caffeine it contains--might just be one of the biggest threats to our continued good health, both physical and mental.Stephen Cherniske, in his seminal book Caffeine Blues, calls caffeine a "biological poison used by plants as a pesticide," noting that "caffeine gives leaves and seeds a bitter taste, which discourages their consumption by insects and animals. If predators insist on eating a caffeine-containing plant, the caffeine can cause central nervous system disruptions and even lethal side effects. Most pests soon learn to leave the plant alone." (This is why; incidentally, it's dangerous for your pets to eat commercial chocolate, which can contain large amounts of caffeine.)Unfortunately, humans are the most persistent of pests, and we've found ways to make irresistibly palatable what is essentially a psychoactive drug that impairs us; the so-called "stimulating" effect of caffeine is merely your body stepping up the system to flush the poison out as quickly as possible. In fact, coffee beans were first employed as a drug to "detoxify" the sick. Caffeine has a similar chemical make-up to morphine, nicotine, and cocaine, to which very few of us with non-bling celeb status would be proud or solvent enough to admit an addiction. But it's not uncommon for us to claim that we can't function without our coffee.
Aside from being addictive, coffee is damaging to the liver, which has to detoxify the caffeine in it. Decaffeinated coffee is not an a-okay replacement. Decaf also contains a variety of damaging chemicals, including the same cancer-causing agents found in barbecued foods. And the decaffeinating process itself often uses chemicals.Still, if the necessary organs can process moderate amounts of caffeine and related substances, why should we go cold turkey on coffee? Perhaps because daily doses of caffeine have been implicated in the following: gastrointestinal disease, sleep disorders, malnutrition (it drains the kidneys of the ability to hold onto calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc), headaches and depression. Plus, every cup of coffee is a glass of body-refreshing water you didn't drink.

Nail Candy

Here's a little sumin, sumin in honor of hump day (yay!)... here's a little nail candy for you!

All I have to say about this is WOW! OBVIOUSLY this is Konad stamp. I used this very stamp here, but this color combination really, uh... pops? It was really fun, but I'm not convinced I can pull it off in public. I wore this to my gym and my Konadicure certainly drew attention. As soon as I got home, I took it off. It is soooo too bright for my taste. BUT if you are the type of person who LOVES bright polish, then this one is definitely for you! LOL!

I used Color Club Yelloh with Konad special polish in green and Konad plate #M65.
As always, you can get 20% off all Konad products at using discount code "MENTAL" with free shipping on all orders over $20. I hope you have fun with this one... I did (very, very briefly! hahahaha)!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Not That I'm Lazy

Ok, it IS that I'm lazy! I paid for a service to send out cards. I've always thought it was important to connect with people in a real way, but I'm also TERRIBLE about getting to the store to pick a card. And since I can usually be found in close proximity to my computer, it just made complete sense that a service that allowed me to "order" a single card or even a multitude of cards was going to save me a ton of time. Surprisingly, I found out that it saved me some money; not a lot, but it does save me some. My biggest thrill is the time savings. And on top of NOT having to go to the store and sort through a TON of card options ranging in price from $.99 to $6, I can also have gifts or gift cards attached to the card I'm sending, again.... without leaving the comfort of my home office. AND I can even schedule my cards to send on future dates. Yah, this service just gets better and better. So much better that I have now decided to be an affiliate. So, if you wanna try this card service out for yourself FOR FREE, click here.

And when I say FREE, I mean that someone you love, like or could even hate, will receive a real card in the mail from you on MY DIME! Know anyone you're needing to send birthday wishes to? Someone who just had a baby or moved into a new house? Maybe you know someone who just went skydiving for the first time that you need to congratulate. It's all here. And if you should fall in love with this service the way I did, after you start your membership (I recommend the wholesale package), you will also be able to even DESIGN your own cards. From the picture that appears on the front, to the writing sample that you send in to have your own personal font created, you're free to design away! There's nothing like sending a card with YOUR OWN handwriting in it! The service even scans your signature (4 to be exact) so that you can 'sign' your cards too. The pic that's posted here (click on it to enlarge it...cuz it's funny!)is the card that I made for my sister. She sent me a picture of her dog in the middle of a yawn and I couldn't resist! I customized the pic with the word bubbles, made it the front of a card and sent my card creation to her and got a hysterical phone call two days later when she received it. We both laughed... HARD! This service is just so great!

Monday, July 13, 2009


I am currently reading a book that I absolutely MUST share! The book is called Fitness and Weight Management Plan and it is just about THE best book that I've read on the subject. The author is Gary Heavin (founder and CEO of Curves International, Inc.)... yes, the 'Curves for Women' guy!!!

Now I wouldn't normally bump into a book like this, well, because I don't work out at Curves and because this book is not in book stores, but I have a dear friend who DOES work out at Curves and recommended the book to me. So off I went in search of my nearest Curves and boy am I glad I did! I HIGHLY recommend you pick up a copy for yourself. Mine cost right around $8.

The book starts out with a description of the Curves workout, which is good information for anyone looking to join Curves, but I skipped that part and started with the section titled Embracing Change. If you don't get this amazing informative book for anything else... get it for THIS SECTION! I have never read anything that was more motivating! The first principal that jumped out at me was "process". Certainly, regaining one's health is sure to be a process, but it makes sense that you can liberate yourself by purposing the process. What I mean is, "I'm going to form a process to change my life." This is actually Goal Setting 101 and applicable for anything in life you would like to achieve. It's a simple idea of create an action plan and execute. I LOVE it!!!! Super information with very well written "how-tos"!

The second idea that practically made me do a somersault was: "Two steps forward and one step back (done consistently) still gets you to your goal." WOW! What an epiphany! Suddenly this book has somehow set me free and released all the guilt I have for every time I've quit or fallen off the wagon. Suddenly bullying myself seems really "anti-process"!!!! SUDDENLY, falling off the wagon or taking that step back is actually PART of the my process and in actuality should be honored.

Yah, this book is a definite HIGH FIVE! I didn't even get into how the ENTIRE book is actually one big action plan! Cuz you know how we all hate someone telling us losing weight and getting in shape is easy, "here's the plan", but then they fail to tell us HOW to execute. That is EXACTLY what this book focuses on! Being just over a quarter of an inch thick, it was a very easy read, had excellent visual appeal on every page with pics and nice font type and was filled with informational, motivational and most importantly, APPLICABLE information. Run - Do Not Walk - to your nearest Curves and pick up a copy today! Come to think of it, this book gets TWO HIGH FIVES!!!

**I think I just discovered my own personal scoring system. From here on out, look for more 'high fives' on items I'm diggin! :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Super Quick Tips For Super Long, Super Strong Nails

With all of the miracle nail treatments on the market today to help your nails grow long and strong, you might be surprised that there are some super cheap tips that will actually get you further. Apply these tips with your favorite miracle nail treatment and prepare for your nails to 'take off'!
The first is, believe it or not, water. While the experts will tell you not to soak your nails, water is actually necessary for nail growth. Not soaking them of course, but drinking plenty of water every day. The more hydrated you are, the more chip resistant your nails will be. The next item in my arsenal is exercise. Yep, exercise will help those digits look amazing because good circulation stimulates nail growth. Finally, vitamins! I take a multi-vitamin every day... it's no secret that pregnant women taking prenatal vitamins have super long and super strong nails.

Well, just some quick tips for today... hope they help everyone out there as much as they help me!
** Pictured: Konad Plates M19 and M45 for french tips using Konad Special Polish White and Color Club's Art Club in Fuschia with a clear top coat. The Fauxnad plate I used for the flowers was C02 with Konad's Special polish in Black! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Can Do Anything For A Minute

When I first started working out, it seemed so hard to me. I remember quite clearly how awkward everything felt. The simplest things that always came so natural as a child was suddenly strained and difficult... even breathing during exercise seemed labored and unnatural.

I live pretty close to a park and took a walk the other day stopping to watch some kids play. In the few minutes I watched these kids, I noticed some pretty amazing things that shed some light on my own workouts.

The first thing I noticed was how happy they looked. It hit me that I feel that way now when I exercise, but when I first started I complained... A LOT and had very little structure, no plan and very little enjoyment! The second thing I noticed was that when they ran, it was 'all out'. When children run, it's in short bursts and sometimes (seemingly) for no reason at all. And finally, I noticed that when they are playing hard their breathing seems normal. Certainly they are breathing heavy, but their breathing isn't labored. They recover their breath quickly and off they go again to run and skip and play. It's almost as if they have energy "bursts" from minute to minute until all those minutes combine and almost fly by. So THAT'S why I am loving my workouts!!!

I can do anything for one minute and that's exactly how I approach my workouts. Whether I'm weight training or doing aerobics, I time it all. I now prescribe to the Body For Life method of health-building and, after watching these kids, know why it works for me. I want to focus on the 20 minute aerobic solution from Body For Life for the purpose of this blog post though because this is what really stood out the day at the park. My 20 minute workout flies by and I think this is why. First, I listen to music that I love; to me there is NOTHING more motivating. I can be completely down in the dumps and hear a great song with an upbeat tempo and I'm ready to move! Then, I start my 2 minute warm up pace. This applies to ANY aerobic workout whether working on a machine or just taking a walk around the neighborhood. Start slow to give your body time to "ready itself" for the workout. The third minute increase your intensity to a moderate pace, the fourth increase intensity slightly, the fifth increase again, the sixth minute increase one more time. The sixth minute should feel a little intense. You should feel the sweat starting to bead and your breathing should be quicker. Push yourself to hold that intensity through that WHOLE SIXTH MINUTE. That completes the 2 minute warm up AND the FIRST AEROBIC set. But I said my workout was 20 minutes? Yep, that leads me to set two where I repeat the intensity that I used for minutes three through six exactly for minutes seven through through ten (set two). I do it all again for minutes eleven through fourteen (set three) and fifteen through eighteen (set four) completing 4 total aerobic sets. Then I finish with increasing my intensity to my highest point for minute 19. This minute is the only minute that I feel like I may not finish (and sometimes don't but ALWAYS try), right before dropping down to the intensity I used for minutes one and two for minute 20, also known as the cool down minute. This is how it looks:

Here's the link to see this graph up close. You can also read all about the Body for Life program in the Body for Life book that always seems to be on sale at Barnes and Noble. To me, this program is the most ingenious method for getting in shape. I steadily increase for four minutes just to drop down and "recover" and then start it all over again. Like I said, "I can do ANYTHING for a minute!" Watch the kids in your neighborhood... I know this program will make sense to you too! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The American Revolution II

This post is super short, but I believe that it is THE MOST important post I have added to date. PLEASE watch

I believe it is PAST time to take it back!

Here is the list of state NON REPRESENTING representatives in AZ:! Arizonans, to send the tea bags requires 10 bags, 10 envelopes and 10 stamps... small price to save your country!!!

Customized Miracle Treatments

Some time ago I was catapulted into caring for my own nails! I know that some of you can relate; with the extreme turn in the economy I just couldn't afford to pay to get my nails done professionally. But that also resulted in having to remove the fake nails that I had filled and refilled for the past nine years... YIKES. My nails were in a terrible state and I did quite a bit of research into "nail repair" products. I started with nail strengtheners. NOPE, that didn't work. Now instead of weak, tearing nails, I was left with super brittle nails that almost seemed to shatter with the slightest bump. I then turned to nail fortifiers that kind of worked but also seemed to peel off my nails in a hurry. Finally I found Nail-Aid! These products ROCK! Unlike any other products I've found these products come with a 30 day, 100% satisfaction guaranty. At a price of $6.50/bottle and free shipping with the purchase of two or more bottles, the price rocks too! On top of that, there is no animal testing on their products, they are environmentally friendly in the production of their products and they are health conscious by only producing products that are formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate free. Now... let me talk A LOT about these incredible products. I have not used them all, but I fully intend to.

The first product that I tried from Nail-Aid was Clear Liquid Bandage for my many torn nails. This product worked every bit of the way it was described on the website. Oh, and speaking of the website... you will NOT FIND an easier website to find EXACTLY the nail products you need. Just click on the product name that appears over the bottle and another screen will open showing you with words and pictures what the product is intended to treat. It will even tell you all the ingredients and directions for use. You will have everything you need to know about the product so that you are sure you made the right purchase. Just like their products, the website is AMAZING! Even if you don't purchase their products, check out the site because it's like no other!

The second product I tried (because I had to buy two bottles for free shipping) was the Pink Natural Growth Therapy. Now THIS product changed EVERYTHING about having to do my own nails. This product made me fall in love with doing my own nails; in fact, I ended up going back and buying more bottles. Every time I applied a coat of this growth therapy, my nails looked clean and strong and sparkley! The polish has a pink tint to it that brightens both the pink and the white of the natural nail. And grow they did! As I wrote in yesterday's post... NOTHING compares to this nail growth therapy in my opinion. I love, love, love these products. Why do I even consider trying anything else? Well, because like most women I am on a never ending search for something better. As of right now I can honestly say that I haven't found it. These products are miracle products. The next two products that I will be purchasing will be the Cuticle Cure to compare with Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme and Creative's Solar Oil, and Nail-Aid's Brush on wrap. I should just go ahead and pick up a couple of bottles of my Pink Natural Growth Therapy while I'm at it! [Wink]
To find out more about Anise Cosmetics (the makers of Nail-Aid), click here! To find a Nail-Aid nail treatment of your own click here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator Review

Ok... so I've been using the Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator for two weeks. The product information touted that it was supposed to stimulate up to 1/4 inch nail growth. I'm not positive that I got a quarter of an inch growth, but I did get marked growth and my nails appeared strong. I used it alone and also wore it as a base coat. Now....

Why, oh why, must I ALWAYS be in search of something better?!? I spent $20 on .5 fluid ounces of this clear nail growth stimulator hoping that it would be better than the VERY BEST nail growth stimulator I have ever used that was a fraction of the price... NAIL-AID. This $20 bottle of Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator gave me only part of the results that I get when I use my Nail-Aid Pink Natural Growth Therapy that I buy for $6.50 which is also .5 fluid ounces as well. AND Nail-Aid's growth therapy is a sweet clear pink that brightens my nails too. I should have just stayed with what I know works and saved my money. I REALLY should be doing a Nail-Aid review... OOOO! Guess what tomorrow's post will be!?! LOL! And as soon as this Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator is gone, I will be ordering my favorite of all faves... the Pink Natural Growth therapy! Tune in tomorrow... I'll tell you all about it!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers!!! Well, I don't have anything planned for this holiday weekend other than hanging out at home and bbq-ing if the weather permits. I can always see the wonderful fireworks from my front yard, although I'm thinking (a little too late) that a block party might have been a ton of fun. Oh well!
I am excited to share some fun Fourth of July Konad nail art designs with you. I also wanted to feature the GORGEOUS holiday nail art of my new friend Vanessa over at Casual Lavish! If you haven't seen her blog yet, you DON'T want to miss it. Her tutorials on nail stamping rock! What am I saying!?! Her entire beauty blog rocks! LOL! I wanna be like her when I grow up.
I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!
*** Konad plate for picture on the left is M45 and the pic on the right is M44. In the left pic I used a peach tinted clear for a base and on the the right a pink tinted clear. Both konadicures were done with China Glaze's Bermuda Breakaway Blue and red nail art paint. I noticed that the blue shows up so much better with a clear pink base instead of the clear peach.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Old Clunker

A few years back I received a Creative Zen Micro Photo for Christmas. It was wonderful! The fact that I could finally carry around all my music in a super small (or I thought at the time)2.25" x 3.5" music player was sheer freedom from carrying around that old, large, portable cd player and I won't even go into the tons of music cds that also had to go along for the ride. Ok... so I'll mention them briefly, hahahahaha! And I was also surprised by how much lighter this music player was. At 5.5 oz., wearing it fashionably on an armstrap to the gym put me in the leagues with the top fitness buffs. Then something shifted... I was no longer hip, or in, or cool anymore. Suddenly everything shrunk and my music player was now a gigantic dinosaur! What the heck?!? Now everyone was sporting music players that were as big as the face of a watch and were a million times lighter than mine. All of a sudden I was back in the 7th grade trying to convince my mom to buy me the latest cool fashion (Converse All Star high tops and long shorts also known as "jams") to no avail because I had a perfectly good pair of generic brand sneakers that worked just fine. Whew, I'm glad THAT flashback is over.... where was I?
Oh! I NEED a new music player... after all, it will help my workout. I will be more streamlined with lighter equipment thus enabling proper form and efficient aerobic output.... :)

Wow... it worked! My husband really bought that?!? Actually, I don't think it was my reasoning that worked so much as finding a great deal on Amazon that moved my husband to give in and let me get a new music player even though "my old one works just fine". I got a Creative Zen Stone, I only paid $25 for it and it arrived perfectly: brand new in package. I really do love it with it's 1.5 oz. weight that allows me to simply clip it to my workout tee. And at 1" x 1.5" it stays completely out of my way while working out.

BUT... I do see another music player purchase on the horizon (don't tell my husband), that is IF Creative Labs FINALLY releases the Krystal in the US (currently only available in Hong Kong)! It's like the Zen Stone Plus, but also contains a pedometer! Yeah baby!!!

Just an FYI everyone... I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Creative Labs Zen players far more than the Apple IPods. While I understand that IPod kind of has a "monopoly" on the retailer market with all the accessories, etc., I have heard more than one complaint about the IPod, how it works and sometimes doesn't. I also have noticed a high replacement rate among my friends while I still had the old Zen Microphoto clunker working fine.

I am amazed with myself for calling it 'the old clunker' when I grew up listening to vinyl on ENORMOUS record players. That evolved into 8 track (no description necessary) and then cassette tapes. Remember the HUGE boom boxes? HAHAHAHA! Old clunker.... whatever!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A New Find Adds Dimension

For quite some time I've been using various nail art paints for my nail stamper. They were cheap and worked pretty well for my nail art, but I just found a brand that I LOVE!!!

While Color Club (we all know and love them!) has an amazing line of nail polishes that are full of pigment and opacity, they also have a line of nail art paints that are just as wonderful and has brought the fun of nail stamping to a whole new level for me! So, what you see in the pic is OPI's Chapel of Love which is a GORGEOUS orangy-pink... almost a salmon and a little shimmery; two coats covered perfectly (you can click on the pic to enlarge). I then took Color Club's Art Club nail art paint in satin silver and painted random lines and squiggles. The brush is super, pin-stripe thin so it was really easy to do. I let it set up for about a minute and then stamped a beautiful asian symbol from Konad's image plate S4 with the Konad special polish in black. I added three little dots using the corner of an orange stick and viola! I am a freak for the asian theme, so I might be a little bias, but aren't these the most AMAZING nails you've ever seen?!? hahahaha! The dimension the nail art paint provided just made the stamp pop and the color combo is killer! I LOVE IT!

***Note: if you're interested in where I get my Konad from, I purchase all my supplies and image plates from Use discount code "MENTAL" for 20% off. And as always, there's FREE shipping on orders over $20.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Man's Lazy Is Another Man's Efficient

I have never really thought of myself as a movie or dvd collector until one day I woke up and had over 250 movies (in their cases) that needed a home. Those dvds sure do take up a lot of space! Well, because I'm always looking for ways to utilize verticle space (meaning that I love to put everything up on walls) I decided that it was time to invest in a dvd storage tower. "How many does the tower hold?" I couldn't find a single one that held more than 200 dvds and I certainly didn't want to line my walls with dvd towers. Enter the Discgear Auto Select 100!

This little baby is somethin!!! It's about as big as a loaf of bread and holds 100 dvds. Each dvd is assigned a number that corresponds to the 'on board' catalog so you can always find what you are looking for in seconds. This magical invention has saved me so much time and so much space... I now own 8 that organizes all my computer programs, music cds, audio books and of course... movies!

Oh, but wait everyone! It gets better! While these wonderful selectors are also conveniently stackable and the perfect size for transport (there's nothing like easily packing 100 movies to take with you on vacation), I just discovered that they are the perfect size to fit the IKEA Expedit book shelves. Tah-Dah!

That is a PERFECT fit if I ever saw one! I no longer have to worry about stacking them... cuz I hate having to 'unstack' them to get to a particular movie. That's not lazy, that's efficient! LOL! The shelving unit is beautiful while also being multifunctional as it not only holds my movies, but books, nic-nacs and magazines. I even have two beautiful baskets for the 'hide away' storing that I also love to do! Check it out! -->

I have a total of three Discgear Auto Selectors (one per shelf) for my movies with plenty of room to store books behind and it looks great. I marked each selector A, B or C and keep a separate, alphabetized master catalog. Example: A54 is Transformers and C54 is Iron Man. This allows me to keep all my movies in alphabetical order on the master catalog even though my discs can be found in any of the three Discgear holders. The best part is if I should decide that my movie collecting will get out of hand, I can always expand the shelving to create more space at the same time add more Discgear Auto Selectors without disrupting the cataloging. I am an organizing MACHINE!!!!
BONUS: Because of the magic of IKEA, I was able to get rid of a 'single use' piece of furniture and replace it with a VERY ATTRACTIVE multi-use piece of furniture that took up the exact same amount of vertical space. And if you look closely at my pics, you'll see my Discgear Selector 50 on top that holds my Karaoke cds. Don't laugh those are important! But notice that the Selector 50 is not square like the Auto Selects and therefore not stackable. Also, for those of you wondering what the IKEA expansion pieces look like (cuz I'm all about the visual), here you go:
If you put one Disgear Auto Selector on each shelf, that would be 1600 movies you could collect and store beautifully with still plenty of room to store books. That is some serious space saving and some serious Feng Shui if you ask me!!!! IKEA ROCKS!!!