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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Kitchen

You spend a lot of time in your kitchen. From cooking those big family dinners to keeping it spic and span, it's no wonder that your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home.

If that space needs a little remodeling, it may be simpler than you think. Here are five easy ways to improve your kitchen.

1. Go green with your cleaner

Ready to make some changes in your kitchen? Then start with the way you clean it. Instead of using the same cleaner you always have, change it up.

While most store-bought cleaners contain harsh chemicals, there are some environmentally friendly options available. If you don't want to go store bought, you can also create simple DIY recipes at home.

Whatever you choose, embrace green products in your kitchen. You'll keep your countertops and tile floors clean ... without harming the environment.

2. Re-think your lighting

If the space doesn't feel like your "dream kitchen" already, it should. You can create that unforgettable room you've been dreaming of by taking a look at your lighting.

Dim lighting or bland fixtures may be making your kitchen look gloomy, instead of warm and inviting. Try adding in a new overhead light fixture or putting a small lamp on top of the counter. A little extra light can completely change the way your kitchen feels.

3. Transform your kitchen decor

To improve your kitchen, you may need to get out of your style rut. Have you had the same tablecloth on your kitchen table for years? Are you tired of those same old place mats day after day?

Then it's definitely time to transform your kitchen decor. Changing it up doesn't have to be complicated. There are many simple decorating ideas you can incorporate into your space.

Try using a new color palette, adding in curtains, or putting some potted plants near your window.

4. Get new glassware

Your glassware isn't just something to drink out of. It's also an important part of the way your kitchen looks. This is especially true if you have glass cabinets or decorative shelving in your kitchen.

So if you're ready to make some improvements, get new glassware. Whether you need to replace your wine glasses or obtain the correct glassware for beer drinking, this simple change can give your kitchen a whole new aesthetic.

5. Take a look at your hardware

You'd be surprised at the difference a few new cabinet handles can make. It's true! Changing the hardware in your kitchen can instantly make the space look more modern and up to date.

Thankfully, this is a job you can handle yourself. In a few short minutes, the overall look and feel of your kitchen will be improved. What could be easier?

Views: 299 |

4 Ways to Help You Lose Weight the Healthy Way

Too many, losing weight seems like a losing battle. Women, especially, are prone to setting their expectations too high: They set unrealistic goals and become discouraged when they don't shed their weight as quickly as they hoped to.

Dieting is difficult. Making healthy lifestyle choices will make it easier.

Set realistic goals

Losing weight is easier to do when you set realistic goals. For example, an unrealistic goal would be that you want to lose 15 pounds in a single week before a big formal event. Even if you do manage to lose 15 pounds in one week, you've done something unhealthy and likely damaging to your body.

Instead, set a more realistic goal, such as losing one to two pounds per week until you reach your goal. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that with a healthy diet and exercise, you can get more than that off in a week, but the realistic goal helps you stay on track.

Indulge on occasion

The secret to living a healthy lifestyle is to indulge on occasion. Dieting without allowing yourself the freedom and flexibility to cheat from time to time is a disaster waiting to happen. Ignoring your cravings altogether runs the risk of eventually resulting in overindulgence, self-pity, and weight gain.

Make healthy substitutions

One of the simplest ways to lose weight quickly is to make food substitutions. For example, cream in your coffee is very fattening. Substitute skim milk for it. Instead of eating cake for dessert, have a few strawberries. If you really want something decadent, dip your strawberries in chocolate before eating them.

Substitute water for everything. When you're thirsty, drink water; don't indulge in sugary sweet drinks that are full of fat and empty calories. The more water you drink, the longer you feel full and the less you eat.

Consider hypnosis

Hypnosis is a very real way to help you lose weight. By allowing a professional to hypnotize you, you can increase your chances of making healthy lifestyle choices, sticking to a healthy eating plan, and losing weight in a healthy manner.

Losing weight this or that way doesn't work for every single person. What worked for your best friend may not work for you. What works for you doesn't necessarily work for someone else.

The trick is not to become discouraged when a diet or healthy eating plan doesn't work for you in one week. Stick with it, make healthy lifestyle choices, and continue to make them as often as possible.

Views: 387 |

5 Ways to Go Green With Your Cleaning Routine

Ready for some good news? Maintaining a clean home doesn't have to harm the environment!

With global warming on the rise, it's more important than ever to go green. While it may be tempting to reach for that heavy-duty cleaner (you know, the one full of dangerous chemicals?), you have other options.

Here are five ways to go green with your home cleaning routine.

1. Come up with a game plan

The best place to start is by doing a little planning. Planning ahead ensures that every room will get cleaned in an environmentally friendly manner. It also helps keep you organized!

You'll need to consider the following: What rooms need to be cleaned? Can you use an energy-efficient vacuum cleaner? Are there products in your cupboards that are harmful?

Go from room to room and write down a brainstorming list. This will help you come up with a solid plan ... and find some simple ways to start making changes.

2. Try DIY cleaning recipes

One essential way you can go green? Change the type of cleaner you use. There are organic cleaning products on the market right now, but they can be more expensive than your everyday, run-of-the-mill cleaning solution.

Fortunately, you can make your own cleaner at home. There are tons of easy DIY recipes to clean the entire house.. Find the ones you like best and get cleaning!

3. Aim for a no-waste clean

Have you ever heard of a no-waste clean? The premise is simple: after you've cleaned your house, you should have no waste left over. Just think about it: It's not very eco-friendly to reach for a green cleaner if you end up using an entire roll of paper towels as well!

Use washable cloths instead. This will get your home spotless without harming the environment.

4. Find creative solutions

It is possible to improve your home and be eco-friendly. The key is to find creative solutions. For instance, if you want to clean your wooden shutters or window treatment, try a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil.

This solution will polish the area and get rid of any built-up dirt or grease. For other solutions, simply take a look around your home. You're sure to find some creative (and green!) ways to change up your cleaning routine.

5. Reduce your clutter

If you want to cut down on your cleaning time and minimize the amount of junk in your home, just reduce the clutter. Many of us have things lying around that we will never use. Rather than be wasteful, donate them instead. This will allow others to use these items; plus, it will save you from cleaning them! Going green has never been so easy.

Views: 307 |

5 Ways Technology Is Making You Healthier

All the tech that's revolutionizing our smartphones and computers is also at work in the health-care industry, improving the practical ways that doctors, nurses, and clinics can treat patients. While the world of health care may seem incredibly complex at times, here are five recent innovations that make some things a lot simpler -- especially patient care.

1. Mobile data at the doctor's fingertips

Tablets are swiftly changing the way that hospitals interact with data. Previously, medical information was bound up in desktop computers and required time and paper-wasting printouts that were sometimes incomplete or difficult to scan quickly.

Now highly mobile tablets connect doctors immediately with patient records, medication histories, and all other forms of health data in digital formats that are easy to scan and search. This leads to faster, better decisions by nurses and doctors.

2. Electronic access for all

As clinics switch to efficient electronic medical record systems, data becomes much easier to move. This means that specialists can obtain access to medical files more quickly, and key insurance or billing tasks can be accomplished at quicker speed.

The result is fewer hang-ups in red tape and a greater focus on fast, reliable service. Electronic medical records also have numerous safeguards to help increase accuracy and avoid mistakes.

3. Remote health care

Tablets and arrays of sensors can give clinics an excellent view of at-home or hospice patients that was not possible before. This allows professionals to note relapses, complications, or additional issues before they may become life-threatening. It also increases the overall accountability and quality of at-home care.

4. Instant reminders

It can be difficult for some patients to remember when to take their medications. Today, clinics can set up a system of email or text-based reminders that enable patients to slip easily into a routine of self-medicating without risking any dangerous errors.

This is particularly useful for elderly patients or caregivers who are learning new medication schedules. These systems also allow patients to report any difficulties or ongoing symptoms.

5. Virtual coaches and guides

On the wellness and prevention front, virtual coach apps can provide plenty of support for healthy exercise regimens. You can set specific weight loss goals and meet them through scheduled workouts that are all managed by your handy mobile device.

If you're placed on a restrictive diet (for example, no sodium or gluten-free) then there are many app guides available to help you make wise food choices, too!

Views: 261 |

4 Surface Cleaning Tips Online

You can get the best surface cleaning tips and services by spending some time reviewing your options online. The Web is a great place to find the best way to clean your tricky surfaces and avoid making amateur mistakes when maintaining floors, counters, walls, and other areas where dirt can build up.

Below are four key tips for attacking those dirty surfaces in your home.

1. Study your surface

Look up your surface material online. This may sound like a strange way to begin, but it's a necessity when cleaning some of the more delicate surfaces around your home or business.

Wood will not respond well to the wrong cleaners; you may end up damaging the stain or protective coating. Carpets need to be cleaned with the proper agents or you risk staining them. Stone like marble can prove especially delicate and needs to be cleaned carefully to avoid damaging it.

By looking up your surface before you begin, you'll learn which cleaners and cleaning tools to use, which will save valuable time and avoid any damaging mistakes.

2. Find the right cleaning agent ... at a low price

When you've finished researching the material, it's time to buy your cleaning agent. Once again the Internet is a great place to start; you can hunt up a variety of great deals on chemicals and cleaners that will save you money.

If you prefer to save money and help out the environment, visit Seventh Generation or Simple Green to order more eco-friendly products in bulk. If you're tackling a smaller project and prefer to make your own cleaners, look up environmentally friendly recipes on natural cleaning blogs and sites. You can do a lot with a little vinegar, if you have a good recipe to work with.

3. Buy or lease handy power tools

For larger cleaning jobs, especially outdoor jobs, spend some time on the Web looking for tools you can buy or lease to make the job easier. A pressure washer can make cleaning patios and outside walls incredibly simple.

The same is true of carpet cleaners if you have a large indoor carpet to tackle. Polishers and similar tools can help with tiles and stone. Look up local cleaner rental companies in your area if you don't want to buy a cleaner outright.

4. For big projects, look for professional services

If you have a serious cleaning project, such as an entire store or office building, go online to find professional cleaning services and contact businesses to set a cleaning date. You can find out a lot about a cleaning service's quality and specialties by reviewing their website.

Views: 281 |

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Home Maintenance Tips

We all have a responsibility to do our part to take care of the planet. While that sounds like a huge undertaking, there are lots of small, easy changes you can make around the house that add up to make a big difference.

Protect the planet and your home with these ten green tips.

1. Start with the outside

The average lawn can be a huge water waster, but the cost of maintaining a green lawn doesn't have to occur at the expense of the environment or your wallet. Adopt eco-friendly lawn care techniques to keep the outside of your home looking great without the shame of wasted water.

2. Replace insulation

Save money on your heating bills by making sure the insulation in your home is plentiful and sealing up cracks in doors and windows.

3. Turn down the water heater

The water heater is one of those appliances that uses a lot of energy without your realizing it. If you turn down the temperature by 5-10 degrees, you'll save electricity without even noticing a change in your hot water.

4. Use the oven less

Use a microwave when you can, and make sure that the fridge isn't up against the oven. The added heat will force the fridge to do more work than it should.

5. Choose recycled materials

Whether you're replacing the curtains or the countertops, reusing building materials keeps trash out of landfills, and they work -- and look -- as good as new materials.

6. Shop at thrift stores and antique shops

The more you can buy used items for your home, the better. Plus, when you shop at second-hand stores you'll save money and wind up with something completely unique.

7. Use power strips

Putting a power strip at each outlet and plugging electronics into that makes it easier to turn things off all at once when they're not being used.

8. Shop green

Going green can start right in the grocery store by choosing green cleaning products, cold-water laundry soap, and even energy-saving light bulbs and appliances.

9. Keep your roof and gutters in good shape

It's easy to forget about the roof, but it's important to clean and maintain the gutters and the roof itself. If you're looking to replace your residential roofing, there are tons of green options for upgrades. A good local roofing company will tell you what your options are for green cleaning and replacing.

10. As always: reduce, reuse, and recycle

It might seem trivial, but recycling and composting actually do make a big difference, and once you get into the habit of sorting that stuff out, it's an easy practice.

Views: 303 |

5 Long-Standing Health Myths You Believed Were True

Misinformation about our health appears regularly in the news, on the Internet, and via word of mouth. As soon as you accept one health tip, a new study emerges to debunk it.

Let's take a look at five of these myths and uncover the truth from experts in the medical field.

1. Eating fatty foods will make you fat

Dr. Carly Stewart, a medical expert at Money Crashers, believes that just because we consume fat doesn't mean it stays with us. Instead, she says that fat in moderation is a necessary part of any healthy and balanced diet.

Putting on more weight in the form of fat is a result of energy imbalance. The equation is simple: you will gain weight if you take in more calories than you burn. Fat is a concentrated source of calories, but it's not necessary to eliminate fat from your diet completely.

2. Eating carbs makes you fat

Similarly, it's long been said that carbohydrates will create weight gain. Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, medical editor at says people don't realize that De Novo Lipogenesis (DNL, which converts sugars into fat) tends to be inefficient in human bodies. "For carbs to make one fat, they would need to work in concert with a poor diet and lack of exercise, which makes those latter two more readily blamed," he asserts.

3. Feed a cold and starve a fever

In both cases, eat, drink, and then eat and drink some more. Dr. Jim Sears, Emmy-nominated co-host of the TV show The Doctors, says, "You never really want to starve yourself if you've got fever or a cold."

Instead, you should stay hydrated and eat good wholesome foods. "Good old-fashioned chicken soup or something that's good for you is the best thing to do when you're sick, whether it's a cold or fever. There's no more feeding a cold and starving a fever."

4. Swallowed gum stays in your stomach for seven years

According to David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "your Little Leaguer's wad of Big League Chew won't (literally) stick around until high school graduation." As with most nonfood objects that kids digest, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and it will pass within days.

5. You don't need a detoxification program

According to the Graham Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, "there's a common, prevailing belief that eating well, drinking sensibly, exercising regularly, and generally leading a healthy lifestyle are more than enough to keep your body free from any accumulation of toxins and functioning at maximum capacity."

This is not the whole story, however. Since the body collects and stores toxins from internal and external stressors, a regular detoxification is extremely useful to cleanse your system.

Myths, half-truths, and old wives' tales persist in medicine. Sometimes even medical professionals believe things that aren't true or at least are unproven. Debunking some of these myths today should serve as a cautionary tale for all of us to dig further for the truth instead of just accepting and repeating what grandma used to tell us.

Views: 284 |

3 Gifts to Surprise Your Husband

As the holidays approach, it gets harder every year to find something to buy for the husband who seems to have everything and wants nothing.

Surprising him with new tools, tickets to a game, or the newest technology may seem like easy go-to gifts, but the cost of these products may be way too much money or they can be sold out. They could also result in the unforeseen hassle of having to return items that he may not enjoy, because he already has them or has no use for them.

To avoid last-minute gift decisions, here are some useful ideas for men that can be presented on holidays, Father's Day, or a birthday.

1. Clothing

Purchasing new clothes for a husband may seem like an easy solution, but making sure the styles and cuts match his current wardrobe is key. Buying a new suit, tie, or dress shirt can add to the work clothes he already has but may be lacking something because of too much wear or his wardrobe has gone out of style.

These items can make him feel more confident when going to the office after the holidays because you've updated the styles he was used to. Besides office wear, clothes to wear out on a date night or to a family party may be desirable, as well. Polo shirts, T-shirts, sweaters, and jerseys can be good gifts for special occasions.

2. Bags

Depending on what kind of items he carries with him, a bag may be a good choice for a husband who commutes to work, has to bring work home with him, or just enjoys having a way to carry things around.

A simple messenger bag can hold a laptop and work documents as he goes to the office. If he travels, then a toiletry bag may suit his needs more, by keeping a shaving kit separate from his toothbrush and shower items.

3. Wallets

A wallet can be a good gift to for your husband since most men carry one around anyway. Because a wallet is used a lot and carried every day, it can be something that's easily replaced and may need to be replaced often.

Buying these items before the rush of the holidays or in anticipation of a birthday can be great for getting the kind of gift that's best for a husband. Most items can be purchased online to save money and also take advantage of free shipping.

Views: 655 |

3 Tips to Green Your Wine

There are people who just pick up a box of wine at the grocery store and then there are those who consider themselves to be connoisseurs of the vine.

Neither is right or wrong, or necessarily better or worse, but what happens when people who love wine also want to make sure that their grape habits are good for the health of the planet? Consider the following three tips to make your wine habits a little greener.

1. Do your research

As with anything, there are companies that conduct their business in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner, and there are those that don't. If being green is important to you, make sure that you look into your winemaker's practices.

Grapes can be particularly harsh on the soil. It's important to practice certain planting and harvesting strategies that protect our planet.

Don't worry; you don't have to know all of these off the top of your head. There are plenty of websites that provide info on which companies are eco-friendly and which aren't.

2. Buy local

I live in an area of Texas that has a lot of local wineries (a fact that seems to surprise a lot of people). We're no Napa Valley, but there are some beautiful spots within reasonable driving distance of most of the major cities in Texas.

Why does this matter? A lot of these local wineries don't ship their wines at all, or they stay in-state if they do ship. This cuts down drastically on the carbon footprint the winery creates with its wine. One hopes the tasters who drive to these wineries travel at the wheel of eco-friendly cars.

The vineyards are probably hoping you'll pick up a nice decanter or a fancy bottle opener from them while you're there, but you can't really fault them for that.

3. Recycle the bottles

People who drink a lot of wine end up tossing a whole lot of bottles into the garbage or recycling bin. Try to do better by reusing those bottles.

There's plenty of projects you can find on Pinterest for what to do with your old wine bottles. For example, put fresh flowers in them. Add candles to the top. Even if you toss them into the recycling bin, they aren't always recycled.

And check with your local wineries: they might reuse their own bottles if you take them back and help the vineyards with their overhead costs.

Views: 277 |

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Energy Costs in Your Health Care Workplace

Health care centers can be expensive energy drains, especially if they are not efficiently managed. Here are five ways that clinics can save money through better management and newer systems.

1. Focus and limit computing

Computing power in clinics and health care agencies tends to be strung out through several rooms. This can produce a lot of heat from multiple directions, which wastes energy, especially when it comes to ventilation and air conditioning.

A better approach is to consolidate all computer use as much as possible, keeping computers to a few offices and the lobby area. Consolidation can take other forms as well, such as consolidating multiple hard drives into one digital medical records computer bank. Even upgrading computers to newer models is likely to save energy.

2. Find creative lighting solutions

Whenever possible, open up waiting rooms, doctor offices, and exam rooms to natural light by using both skylights and windows. Try to avoid older fluorescent lights whenever possible and upgrade to newer, more eye-friendly versions.

If you will not be using an office or room during the day, turn off the lights and lock up the space rather than waste further energy on it.

3. Mandate a recycling policy

Certain medical items must be disposed of according to proper regulations. But there's a whole other class of health care items that get thrown away when they could be recycled.

Creating a recycling policy that encourages conscientious recycling of papers and plastics can benefit the community and help save energy on a broad level.

4. Use energy-rated appliances

Clinics use all types of refrigeration, sanitary, and pump-based devices. To help save money, search for energy-rated appliances that have won special certification for their energy savings.

Plenty of these devices, such as those with Energy Star ratings, are available through common suppliers. Switching or expanding to rated devices like these will cut your energy bills.

While you're at it, alter your policies to help reduce appliance usage. Move to digital copies, scans, and email instead of using photocopiers or printers. Utilize cloud computing solutions instead of relying on bulky computers for records storage.

5. Create strict HVAC guidelines

HVAC (heating, venting, air conditioning) is one of the biggest consumers of energy in any commercial building. Enforce a policy that focuses on carefully controlled thermostats to save energy.

Outlaw those little heaters that doctors and nurses like to keep in their waiting areas: those devices are an incredibly inefficient use of energy. If the clinic does not have proper insulation on windows and doors, update its weatherproofing and upgrade windows to save on HVAC power consumption.

Views: 293 |

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