Wednesday, June 20, 2018

5 Tips to Strengthening Your Hair

Written by a contributing writer 


When hair is healthy and well groomed, it tends to have an aesthetically pleasing allure. However, the buck doesn’t stop with just making it look good; there is extra work involved to ensure that you take care of it as well. Neglected hair is easily noticeable, making your mane look weak and dull. This can also lead to massive hair loss which is bound to affect anyone's self-esteem significantly. In some extreme cases, it can even be an indicator that there is an underlying medical issue at hand.

So how do you strengthen your hair and ensure that it looks good at the same time? The hair needs to be strengthened from the roots. While it can be a challenge to keep the hair healthy when factors like dust and heat come into play, there are several measures that you can take to help you keep your tresses strong and undamaged. Some of them include:

1. Taking Supplements

People tend to underestimate the impact that supplements have on strengthening weak hair. We need to understand what the ingredients in the supplements are and what they can do for your hair to appreciate their importance. Supplements that target the strength of the hair should be rich in vitamin C, biotin, zinc and iron among others. Hairlossable supplements contain all these nutrients and more that are great for your hair.

2. Use the Right Products

By using the right kind of products, you are well on your way to getting the strong hair that you desire. When you are out shopping for your hair products, ensure that you only stick to the ones that are free from harmful chemicals like parabens. Some of the best products are made from natural ingredients. They have numerous hair strengthening properties that will help to reinforce your hair’s strength and health.

3. Stay Hydrated

Water is really the universal cure for everything. Well, staying hydrated is a sure fire way to ensure that all bodily functions are running optimally. This includes your hair because moisturizing it from the inside allows it to thrive and grow. Water also helps to flush out the toxins that would otherwise impede your hair’s growth. You can also keep your hair moisturized by having a spritz bottle that contains your favorite hair oils and a large percentage of water. Moisturized hair is happy hair.

4. Eat the Right Food

Eating the right food is possibly one of the easiest ways to strengthen your hair. Food that is rich in minerals, proteins, and vitamins help to nourish your hair right from the scalp to the ends. Keep away from processed, fatty foods and concentrate on meals that are rich in the components mentioned above. These foods can work in tandem with the supplements mentioned above to give your hair the best opportunity to grow while thriving in a healthy environment.

5. Stay Away From Heat

Heat is the biggest adversary to strong hair because it can cause a lot of damage, breakage, split ends and finally, thin hair over a period of time. Stay away from heated styling tools because they tend to damage your hair all the way from the roots down. You can easily replace the use of these tools by getting innovative and enhancing your hair with other products.

If you have to use these thermal tools, ensure that you use a heat protectant on your hair while keeping the heat at very low temperatures. Once you are done with the heat styling tools, finish up with products that include protective and strengthening properties.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Gastritis: When Weight Loss Isn't Healthy

Whew. Where do I start? You may have noticed my contributors have somewhat taken the lead when it comes to posting on here. 1. - Thank goodness for them. And, 2., there is, of course, a reason for this. I'm going to share a small piece of my own life here. Something that I don't do very often. But I really think sharing this may help someone.  Because I know when I was in the thick of this journey, I turned to the internet for help. When my doctors couldn't give me answers or advice, other blogs and online forums did. So this post is going to be super informal (not that I'm ever really "formal") and me just "talking" to you all about my experience in hopes of reaching someone who is just as confused as I was during the start of this.

As you can tell from the title, I have gastritis. My years of using aspirin and ibuprofen to treat migraines have finally caught up with me. My stomach lining is damaged and I am now being treated with medication and a very restrictive, bland diet.  It's definitely no fun, but nothing compared to the months (yes, months!) leading up to my diagnosis.

It started mid-December. My husband and I went on one of our rare date nights to see a movie and grab food. During the movie, I ate popcorn and candy (Treat yo'self!) and noticed that I felt a little pain in my abdomen and a bit of nausea. I do have IBS so I initially thought that it was acting up even though I hadn't eaten any trigger foods. I brushed it off. We went out to eat. I got nachos. And, again, nausea and pain. But more intense. I, again, brushed it off.

The next day we were visiting my in-laws, and after drinking a soda and having some chips (real clean diet, you guys) I felt a more intense nausea with pain. Something was wrong. This wasn't my IBS. I could tell. I remember feeling a feeling I felt when I was pregnant with my son.  That baby moving feeling. But it was in my far left, lower abdomen. What? What is that? (No one has been able to explain what that part to me to this day.)

Initially, I thought what most of us ladies think.  Did my birth control fail? Am I pregnant? Took a pregnancy test (I am the only one who does this first before going to the doctor for basically anything?), not pregnant. Ok...Well... I have to go to the doctor.

I go to my primary. He's super confused about the baby moving feeling - "You're not pregnant?" Nope. Orders and gets me into a CT scan that day. The results come back. Mesenteric adenitis. Basically, my lymph nodes in my abdomen are a little swollen and there's a lot of them showing. Ok. So intestinal infection. Antibiotics and I should be good, right?

In theory, except every antibiotic he put me on gave me awful side effects. So I ended up going back to the doctor nearly every day that week to get my prescription changed. I then develop a fever. While on antibiotics. My doctor thinks its a UTI (it wasn't) and switches my antibiotics. The weekend comes, the pain is worse. I still have a fever. I feel much worse. I end up going to the ER.

They do blood tests. Can't find anything. Can't find any sign of infection. Don't know what is going on with me. But switch my antibiotic to a massive, MASSIVE dose of an antibiotic I know my system likes (and it makes my skin glow on top of it).  And I basically hope this is the end of this.

In the meantime, I can't eat anything. I mean, I'm literally living off of water, baby food (literal Gerber baby food -sweet potato and veggies), and bread. It's Christmas. My family is Italian. And I ate baby food and bread during the usual Christmas feast. It was not a good time.

I can also barely finish the baby food without feeling overly full and nauseated. I finish the antibiotics and I am not getting better. The pain is still happening. The nausea is worse. And by now it's the beginning of  January and I've lost 15lbs. 15lbs of unintentional weight loss. I had some lbs I wanted to lose so I'm not super concerned about the weight loss at this time, but I am aware this is not healthy. And this is something I need to address asap. So I make an appointment with a GI.

My GI has retired. So I had to find a new one. I go into the appointment. He basically says I am still recovering from an intestinal infection (which to this day, I don't really know if I ever really had. Remember, blood tests showed no sign of infection) and that it's taking me a long time to recover because I already have a sensitive system (IBS) and it's probably all thrown off. He sees my "very strong" (his words) family history of colon/rectal cancer and orders a colonoscopy.

Ok... so I give it another couple of weeks. I feel worse. Still surviving on baby food and bread. Nope. Go back to the GI. He orders another CT scan. The CT scan still shows mesenteric adenitis. Hasn't changed at all. All of those antibiotics... did nothing. Awesome.

I do the prep for the colonoscopy. I've had one before so I'm not worried. But the prep I've used in the past (basically huge pills that taste like salt) causes kidney damage so it's not used anymore. I have to use the liquid. It tastes like bile. And was way too harsh for my sensitive system. I only kept down half of it. But colonoscopy happens. Comes back normal. So that's good.

Now it's February. I go back for my follow up. I've lost 20lbs total. I'm concerned. I also am having reflux which I've NEVER experienced before. Not even while pregnant. He diagnoses me with GERD. Basically, it's acid reflux disease. Gives me a PPI, tells me to come back.

The PPI works. But I start getting intense pain in my legs. I look online, it's a rare side effect of the medication. I call the doctor. He prescribes me Zantac. And I experience PPI rebound. Basically, because of how PPI medications work, my body is now producing more acid off of the PPI than it did before I ever started the medication. I look up information online and learn all of the awful long-term side effects that come with PPIs. And how difficult they are to quit if you are on them for a long period of time. Rebound can last up to 3 months. Luckily, mine only lasted a few days. I was only on the medication for a week and a half.

While all of this is going on, I started feeling shortness of breath, pain in my chest that radiates to my back, and tightness in my chest (and sometimes in my throat). My husband takes my blood pressure and pulse. My pulse is in the 120s. Resting. Not normal for me at all. My normal resting pulse is in the 60s or 70s. I end up feeling awful one night. Go to the ER. My pulse is in the 140s. EKG has a minor abnormality on it. Lots of blood tests show nothing. Chest x-ray shows nothing. They can't get my pulse down. I'm laying in bed and it's jumping between 100 and the 120s. I'm admitted to the hospital overnight. I do an echocardiogram, stress test, more blood tests, and they can't find anything wrong with my heart. They monitor me the entire time. My heart rate is still in the 100's to 120's resting. But they release me the next evening and tell me to see a cardiologist. So I start seeing a cardiologist.

(Also sometime within this period, my ears hurt all of the time. And I start seeing an ENT- get tests and a ct scan done there- but that's way too much to get into for this post.)

I get side effects from the Zantac. Aching in my joints. No. This time I do my research and decide I want another medication in the same class of Zantac. I do not want another PPI. He gives me a once a day dose. It doesn't work halfway through the day. And I am prescribed another PPI.

This entire time I'm trying to live my life. Take care of my son. And still working from home. I'm still eating bread and baby food. I can now tolerate crackers and a few other things. But I'm losing weight. And the new PPI is now giving me intense headaches that then trigger migraines. Daily.  During a visit to the cardiologist, I realize I've now lost 25lbs. I make an appointment with the GI.

This is the part when I get scared. It's March. And I can't stop losing weight. It's not like I had a ton of weight to lose to begin with. I'm freaked out. I can't control the weight loss. (It seems like a perk - the weight loss- but when you can't STOP it... it gets real scary real fast.) I still feel awful. I can't find a medication that my body will tolerate and I'm seriously doubting my diagnosis of GERD.

I decided to write down all of my symptoms and concerns and give it to the GI. His first reaction "You've lost 25lbs?!" I'm thinking "Yes, this is not a look" referencing my clothes that are now too big on me. He's concerned. Thinks I may have a stomach ulcer. I elect to have an endoscopy.

While waiting for my endoscopy date, I visit the cardiologist. And in this time I have been put on beta blockers and then gone off of them because- SURPRISE - side effects. (The made my ears ring. Less than 1% of people get this side effect. Yay me)  My heart rate is still elevated all of the time. My blood pressure is low-normal (normal for me) and they can't figure out why my heart rate is so high. Those around me are trying to be helpful and ask if it's anxiety. I start feeling a little frustrated because I've had anxiety my entire life (seriously, my first memory of an anxiety attack happened when I was on the playground at preschool), I'm very familiar with the feeling of general anxiety, anxiety attacks, and panic attacks. And because my cardiologist ruled out anxiety in the beginning - "If it was anxiety, your blood pressure would be up too. It definitely would not be low or low-normal like it is."

The people around me are trying to help and I'm in such a bad spot with my health that I'm starting to have very little patience for anything.  And mentally, I'm not in a great place. I'm pretty miserable. And feeling like I'll never get better. I envy the other moms I see at drop-off at my son's school who are able to just go about their day...and feel like they can easily breathe. Or eat. I feel like I can't keep up with daily life and like I'm always in one doctor's office or another. My health is such a large focus at this point, that I feel like it's overtaking the rest of my life. I feel like I'm not getting to live any of the other parts of my life. And I feel like I'm flailing when it comes to taking care of my family, maintaining friendships, and keeping up with work. My entire life has become new medications, going to multiple doctors, and being confused as to why I don't feel better. At this point, I can't even imagine how people who live with serious chronic illness do this. (And I still can't imagine.) Because, putting things in perspective, my GI issues and high heart rate are nothing compared to what some people go through daily.

Somewhere around this point I start to connect that the tightness, pain in my chest and shortness of breath happens an hour after eating and when I'm not on acid reducers. I also start taking my heart rate after eating and realize that's when it's at it's highest.  I wonder if my GI issues are causing my heart rate issue.

 I go on a 24-hour heart monitor.

I do the endoscopy. My stomach lining is damaged and inflamed. I have gastritis. Finally, I know whats going on. By this time he has already switched me to that H2 blocker (Zantac-like medication but not Zantac) that he had me on once a day - to twice a day. It's somewhat working. I still get breakthrough symptoms. But it's bearable. I go to a follow up appointment and basically it's a "this should heal. It will take some time. But for some people it never completely goes away" situation. Also, within this time, I've been given and directed to try a ton of different supplements by family and friends. ("Have you tried to treat it naturally?" is the question I always heard.) But I was always scared to try them because I didn't know exactly what they were. And on top of my gastritis, I also have sensitive intestines. So... I take ALL of the supplements people recommended to my doctor. There were literally 10 to 15 bottles. He goes through them one by one. All of them but 2 were either a fiber or laxative. Fiber and laxatives would've upset my IBS. There was a zinc/ pepsin supplement that he was eh about. And a licorice one that he said I could try but it may give me side effects. At this point, I'm done with side effects so no. He tells me most of his patients swear by apple cider vinegar and though he doesn't understand it, he's heard it enough to start telling patients about it. (I'm still too nervous to try it.)

I end up looking up gastritis diets online to figure out what I can/should eat. I had lost almost 30lbs at this time(I've gained back a little bit of weight since then.) And definitely wasn't getting the nutrition I needed. More on the gastritis diet in a bit.

So end of March. I go back to the cardiologist. Heart monitor shows normal activity minus my heart rate being high. No rhythms. Just tachycardia. He doesn't think it's due to anything with my heart. I ask if it could be related to my gastritis. Possibly. He prescribes me medication to take "just in case" I have a day that's awful (I haven't taken it) and tells me to continue following up so they can monitor it.

And that's basically where I am now. The gastritis diet forces me to eat pretty clean since my stomach literally can't handle anything super processed, spicy, fatty, rich, fried... you know, all of the deliciousness we really shouldn't be putting into our bodies anyway.

I figured out the shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness is my body's version of heartburn. I don't get the typical burning feeling, I get that. I guess my body knows that if I just felt burning, I would continue to eat whatever I wanted.

I can't have dairy, carbonated drinks, garlic, tomatoes, alcohol, caffeine, coffee (decaf or not), chocolate, citrus, or anything acidic. Which as it turns out, is a lot of foods you wouldn't suspect. (Even apples and grapes are too acidic for me.)

So what do I eat? Basically plain grilled or rotisserie chicken, plain grilled salmon, cooked veggies like green beans, corn, carrots, most bread or crackers (unless they have garlic), melons, bananas, oatmeal, egg whites (egg yolk has too much fat for me), fennel tea, shortbread cookies.

Over time I am now able to eat pancakes, some sugar cookies (some are still too "rich" or sugary I guess).

I've found Kaffree with almond milk "creamer" as a substitute for coffee.

Carob as a substitute for chocolate

Almond milk as a sub for milk.

I can also tolerate fruit roll-ups and glazed donuts, strangely enough.

It definitely forces me to not put junk into my body (no more soda, chips, or candy). And also to be more aware of what I'm eating.  I check the ingredients on EVERYTHING now before eating. Whereas I rarely did that before.

I still have breakthrough symptoms. I still have days where the shortness of breath, tightness in my chest and throat happen. And my body will eventually adjust to my medicine to the point where it will no longer work. But right now it's tolerable. And I'm happy to not be where I was a few months ago.

In conclusion, health... Ya don't realize just how lucky you are to have it... until it's threatened.



Your Guide To A Successful Summer Fitness Program

Written by a contributing writer

 

Summer is looming. While many of us can’t wait for the arrival of long, hot days, the thought of baring all on the beach or wearing more revealing clothing can bring anxiety. If you’re keen to lose weight this summer, or you simply want to tone up and feel more confident in your own skin as warmer weather arrives, there’s no better time to get into a training program. You don’t need to be a fitness guru to shape up and reap the rewards of regular exercise. If you’re eager to get started, this guide will point you in the right direction.


Taking the First Step

Many of us think about exercising, and then never actually take that first step and get started. It can be tough to break the mold and change your routine, but the sooner you get used to working out on a regular basis, the faster you’ll adapt. It can be daunting to saunter into a fitness class or walk into a gym for the first time. If you’re nervous because you’ve never really been into exercise before, or it’s been a long time since you trained, start with a beginner’s class and consider taking a friend. If you’re joining the gym for the first time, it’s always beneficial to take advantage of an introduction. During this short session, you can learn how to use every machine safely and effectively, and you can also learn a bit more about the equipment on offer, and how it could benefit you. If you’re apprehensive about that first class or session, you could take a friend or exercise with your partner. Although this is often a lot easier to say than it is to do, try not to worry about what other people think. When you’re faced with a room full of toned, sculpted bodies, this can make you feel anxious, but focus on why you’re there, and remember that everybody has to start somewhere. If you are worried about training in front of other people, visit the gym at quiet times, for example, first thing in the morning, or work out at home. There are numerous online workouts and fitness DVDs you can follow.




Image by https://kaboompics.com/photo/1472/grey-sport-shoes



Setting Realistic Goals


Setting goals are incredibly beneficial when you’re trying to get fit. Targets can propel you in the right direction, keep your motivation levels high and give you something to focus on, but it’s so important to ensure that any goals you set are realistic. If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, don’t expect to drop a kilo a day. If you’ve never run before, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take on a marathon after a month. If your main aim is to lose weight, challenge yourself, but stick to a program that promotes gradual, sustainable results. If you’re training to build your fitness levels or tone up your abs or triceps, work towards end goals, but focus on major milestones along the way. Increase the number of sets each week or try and shave a few seconds off your personal best for a 10-kilometer run.




Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143842337@N03/32438526540




Getting into a Routine

Do you find exercise a chore? If so, you’re not alone. It can take a long time to get used to being more active and to get to the stage when exercise is part of your daily routine. If you are struggling, hang on in there, and try and make your new routine work for you. Work out in the morning, rather than the evening, so that you can attack the session with energy and enthusiasm, and choose activities that you enjoy. If you don’t love jogging, don’t persist with it and go for a jog every day. You don’t have to fall head over heels in love with every class or sport you try to get fit. Adapt your daily schedule to allow time for physical activity, and find out what works for you. If you’re not a morning person, take some time out at lunch or go to a class, visit the pool, or get your bike out after work.




Picture credit https://pixabay.com/en/photos/health%20run/




Making Exercise Fun

Are you one of those people who starts a new fitness regime with all the motivation in the world, only to find that a few weeks later, you can muster up even a modicum of enthusiasm? The trouble for many of us lies in boredom. We start off with the best intentions, but we grow tired of going for a jog or doing weights sessions. Soon, we’re back to square one. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s hugely beneficial to try and find activities that are fun and to vary your workouts. It’s no surprise that people find the same exercises tiresome after weeks of training. If you tend to get bored easily, exercise classes like those available at ClubFitness.us are a great idea. With classes, you can socialize, make new friends and try something different. There’s a vast range of options available, from Zumba and dance-themed cardio classes to spinning, barre fitness, abs and core sessions, yoga, Pilates and fusion options that offer a bit of everything. Try different classes, see how you get on, and alternate activities to keep things interesting. In the summer, you can also enjoy exercising in the great outdoors. Swap the treadmill and indoor cardio sessions for running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or fun activities like kayaking, swimming, and climbing. Some people also find exercise more enjoyable with a buddy. Work out with your partner, make friends at classes or take an old friend from work or college with you when you go out for a run or a bike ride.




Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/esthermax/26478105075


Staying Motivated

When you’re having one of those days when you can’t seem to find the energy to get off the sofa, or you’re tempted to hit the snooze button several times, remember why you wanted to start your program in the first place. Were you keen to lose weight? Were you unhappy with the way you looked? Was stress getting the better of you? Did you want to improve your health? Did you want to feel confident for a summer vacation or are you shaping up for a wedding or a landmark birthday? When you’re struggling to carry on, think about the reasons you wanted to be more active, and focus on how you’ll feel after your session, rather than how you feel now. If you miss a class once a month, this isn’t going to be a problem, but if you make excuses on a regular basis, you may end up with regrets. If you can find that tiny drop of motivation and get out there and work up a sweat, you’ll feel even better afterward. If you find it hard to push yourself when you’re at the gym, it may also be a good idea to hire a personal trainer. When you’ve got a trainer, they can give you support and advice, but they also have expertise in getting the best out of their clients. Just when you think you’re running on empty, your trainer will get that extra mile or that final set out of you.




Image by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cycle_Class_at_a_Gym.JPG

Eating Well


If you’re on a mission to lose weight, you may assume that you need to try and exercise as much as possible at the same time as surviving on meager portions. In reality, healthy weight loss is all about finding a balance. If you’re training, whether you’re trying to drop a dress size or you’re hoping to gain muscle mass, you need to fuel your body. If you’re not eating enough or you’re eating the wrong foods, your body won’t have the energy it needs to excel in your training sessions. Keep an eye on your calorie content, increase your intake of protein and cut out processed, fatty, sugary foods to improve your diet and ensure your body has access to the fuel it requires. If you need help, a personal trainer will be able to provide you with nutrition plans. You can also find amazing resources online, including this useful article https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/best-foods-eat-and-after-your-workout.




Picture courtesy of https://kaboompics.com/photo/5724/olives-hummus



Rest and Recovery

When you get into exercise, and you’ve got a goal in sight, it can be tempting to go all-out. While it’s brilliant to push yourself, don’t underestimate the importance of enabling your body to recover. Have a couple of rest days or alternate tougher sessions with light exercise. If you’re doing strength training, for example, have a day off once a week and switch to yoga, swimming or Pilates on another day. Get enough sleep and make sure you warm up and cool down before and after every session. It’s so important to do this to protect against injury and condition your body.




Image taken from https://pixabay.com/en/people-woman-yoga-mat-meditation-2557545/


Are you hoping to get fit this summer? If you’ve got goals, hopefully, this guide will help you achieve them. Have fun with exercise, think about why you want to get fit, eat well, rest up and set yourself targets that are tough but obtainable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

5 Tips to Running Your Business

Written by a contributing writer


If you’ve been thinking about starting a unique business to be able to work from home but wonder whether it will succeed, there are some crucial facts you should face. First, every business venture has its risks and rewards. You ought to figure out whether your business idea is economically viable or not – conducting a thorough market research will certainly help. Secondly, you need to be extremely passionate about your envisioned business. Don’t let unkind words from friends derail you from pursuing your main goal.

Here are 5 more tips to running your business:

Ensure the business is legal


As tempting as it might be to delve into illegal dealings, it’s important to create legal frameworks so that your business can thrive. Conduct some research to figure out how you can operate your business within the prescribed laws. It might take longer at first, but it will help you save more time in the long haul. Find out what kind of licenses and permits you’ll require before launching the business in your residing city. You could also consult a lawyer if you need help coming up with the most fitting business structure for you.


Get discounted prices on stock

If you’ve just set up shop and you’re looking for a reliable dealer to source your goods from, there are a variety of wholesalers and manufacturers who are willing to sell you all the products you need at a delightfully discounted price. Dealdash is a unique online auction site where you can purchase a variety of products at tremendously low prices. Here, you simply bid for items and the highest bidder takes it home. Alternatively, you can utilize the Buy It Now option to buy selected items using the price listed therein.


Offer great products and services

The business world is ruthless and unforgiving. For you to succeed, you need to go against the grain and offer services/products that are truly unique. Customer service experience should be top priority for every business owner. Tailor your products to satisfy the needs of your particular audience, then create an effective marketing strategy. Don’t forget to build your brand from the ground up. With a bit of hard work and patience, everything will gradually fall into place.


Stay organized


In business, organization is critical. It’s not sufficient to walk into your office every morning and wait for customers to show up or contact you. Write down your tasks in a convenient to-do list and cross out each item after you’ve completed it. This guarantees that every crucial task is handled and nothing is forgotten. In addition, consider hiring subordinate staff to help you carry out daily business activities successfully.


Create an effective business plan


There’s an adage that says failing to plan is planning to fail. You might have all the essential resources to jumpstart your business, but chances are it won’t blossom quickly if there’s no proper plans and strategies put in place. A business plan allows you to determine the viability of your intended business. After all, there’s no need investing your time and resources into a venture that simply won’t succeed.

There you have it, 5 insightful tips that can help you run your business successfully.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Clean Air without the Bulk

Allergy season has been brutal this year in Florida.  At one point, we had the highest pollen count in the country. So that meant sinus pain, sniffles, itchy eyes, sore throats, and lots of sneezing. Obviously, we kept the windows closed and only opened the doors to go outside. However, I knew that pesky, pollen filled air was blowing its way into our home or the pollen was hitching a ride on our Golden's hair. (He likes to roll around in the dirt, leaves, and yes, pollen. So fun ;-) )

I looked into getting an air purifier. But every option I found was bulky or not super attractive. I was afraid of getting a large object the dog or my child could run into, knock over, or injure themselves on. So once I found out about Titus & Wayne's Luft Qi purifier, I knew it would be the perfect fit.

This little guy is small, quiet, and attractive.  It's super simple to operate. Simply plug it in to turn it on. I love that it doesn't scream "HEY LOOK AT ME OVER HERE!" yet has an understated elegance to it if it does happen to catch your eye. I also am a fan of the 360-degree air intake. This means it's taking in air from every possible angle, cleaning it using its patented Nano-Reactor, and dispersing the clean air through the top. 



Check out the Luft Qi on sale now until May 25th on Indiegogo.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Eating in Asia: Foods You Have to Try on Your Travels!

Written by a contributing writer


Asian food is one of the most popular foreign foods enjoyed in the west. With delicious ingredients, delicate spices, and smart cooking techniques used to create foods that are fresh tasting and flavorful, it's not hard to see why. So of you’re backpacking across Asia this summer or have a getaway booked to a specific destination on the continent, there are a few dishes you really have to try while you’re away!


link


Dim Sum

Dim Sum is enjoyed in many places across Asia, from Hong Kong to China and Canton, amongst other places. It's definitely something you should aim to try while you're on your trip and is sure to be more enjoyable than takeout options you can get in the west! Dim sum are served as a selection of smaller bites, with dishes including barbecue pork buns, chee chong fun, xiao long bao and lots more. There are plenty of dim sum stalls all over Asia and you'll find it in restaurants and cafes too.


Noodles

‘Singapore noodles’ is most likely not the first dish that springs to mind when thinking of Asia.  (They didn’t actually originate from Singapore and aren’t very popular in Asian cuisine.) However, as noodles are a staple food in many areas in eastern Asia, they’re eaten a lot in different styles, and there are lots of incredible noodle places. From spicy laksa to Hokkien fried noodles and Bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), there really isn't just one type of noodle dish that can sum up Asia.



link

Rice

In other parts of Asia, rice is eaten as a staple food item instead of noodles- so depending on where you're travelling to, you should take advantage and dine on rice too. Traditional rice dishes in central Asia include 'buttered rice under a Shah's crown' which is tasty buttered saffron rice with dried chestnuts, raisins, and apricots served under fluffy bread. Pumpkin stuffed with jewelled rice is another popular dish, something you're unlikely to have tried before! Rice can be served as a side dish or as the main feature. Different kinds of rice grains are used depending on the dish; making something simple into something spectacular.


Street Food

Across Asia you will come across incredible markets where street food vendors produce tasty dishes without costing you much at all. Great if you're on a budget, but something to experience regardless as they will give you a true taste of authentic Asian cuisine. Some of the vendors in Singapore have actually been awarded Michelin stars- the first time this has happened in the luxury food's guide. If you're visiting Thailand, Phuket is best known for its seafood. So amazing fish dishes amongst other things are often served up by vendors. Use a hotel such as the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa which puts you at the heart of the action, and makes it easy to visit these kinds of places.


Desserts

Dessert is well loved in Asia, while you will no doubt be tasting your way through lots of savoury dishes it's not something to overlook while you’re on your trip! Gelato and desserts cafes are becoming more and more popular across the continent. Across Asia you can find a everything from pastries to gourmet cheesecakes and very recognizable traditional classics. Then on the other hand you have Asian and local-inspired creations- some unusual desserts include frozen basil custard and salted egg yolk ice cream!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Mother's Day Gift Guide for Every Mom with zulily

Mother's Day is coming up fast! If you haven't found the perfect gift for the moms in your life, don't worry! Zulily has a ton of items at discounted prices. And they've even done some of the work by creating the perfect list of must-haves for just about every mom. Take a look!

  • The Makeup Maven – from fragrances, to bath bombs to must-have makeup brands, she’ll beautiful inside & out…

  • The Social Butterfly – Does she love to get out of the house and experience new things? Check out our daily selection of tickets to live shows, sporting events and concerts!

  • The Style Icon – From trendy tops to must-have staples, we’ve got her covered…

  • The Trendsetter – Launching dozens of new brands daily, she’ll stay ahead of the trends with our unique zulily debuts!

  • The Fur Baby Fanatic – Fur baby moms count! Get something quirky to help bond with their animal companion…

  • The Adventure Seeker – Whether she’s hiking through the woods or just camping in the backyard, we’ve got the basics and the bizarre to help her outdoor explorations…

  • The “Fixer Upper” Fan – Is a mom in your life longing to be the next Joanna Gaines? She’ll love our diverse selection of home d├ęcor finds…from contemporary to farmhouse, we’ve got it all!

  • The Chef – Whether she’s Julia Child or just making a fun mess, we’ve got essentials to extraordinary when it comes to kitchen & cookware!

  • The DIY Queen – Crafty, clever and creative? Check out our hundreds of DIY kits and personalized items to make your gift truly unique. 

  • The New Mom – Is there a woman in your life about to celebrate their first Mother’s Day? Make it extra special with a gift for her, or baby.