Style for the Young at Heart
How to Dress Your Age, Only Younger!
Be honest: We all feel a tiny thrill when someone assumes we’re a little younger than we are. When we look in the mirror and see a vibrant, youthful woman looking back at us, it puts a little pep in our step and boosts our self-confidence. On the other hand, we do NOT want to be tagged as someone who is “trying too hard” or wearing clothing more suitable for someone half her age…her daughter, perhaps? We want to look young and fresh, fashionable and sophisticated, and, above all, tasteful. How do we do it? Here are some ideas.
Wear leather or faux leather. Leather pants may be going too far, but a leather jacket brings an edge when paired with simple classic separates. Add a complementary piece (like a scarf) to complete the look, and keep the rest very simple. The look is elegant, appears expensive, and stays youthful.
Choose solid colors in neutral tones. Nothing is more elegant than a monochromatic outfit. Three tones of gray look wonderful, as do combined tones of taupe and beige. Not sure whether you have these looks already in your closet? Try reorganizing by color instead of by item to discover monochromatic looks.
Add simple silver jewelry to a gray look, and accessorize in gold with taupe and beige. Younger people often wear tiny, delicate jewelry, but a statement piece can work if it’s a great piece. If you are wearing a statement necklace, keep the rest of your accessories to a minimum. This look is so classy, you cannot go wrong with it.
Wear modern jeans. It’s time to update your jeans to high-waisted, curve-hugging ones! A dark wash is best and can work for both casual and dressy looks. A crisp white blouse with a modern jean and a shoe or boot with a little heel is youthful and fashionable. Again, add a third piece to put together your look. That piece could be a jacket, vest, or scarf. The modern blazer jacket is an essential asset to your wardrobe. Pop it over your jeans, add a white shirt, and you are cool, sophisticated, and youthful.
Prints for the win. Love a new trend and want to wear it? Go ahead! Keep the rest of your look solid and classic. I personally love all the animal prints out there! Anyone can wear them…just one at a time, please.
Not your mom’s shoes. It’s important to wear shoes that don’t hurt your feet, but nothing ages an outfit more than “old lady shoes.” Consider wedge shoes or boots—they raise you up a little so you look longer but are still comfortable. One amazing trend that is going strong is the cute tennis shoe. White is great year-round if the weather is cooperating; otherwise, find some fun darker kicks (dingy white is no good).
You can update a shirt with the half-tuck. What is the half-tuck? Take that oversized, hip-length top you’ve been wearing. Gather it into a tail in the front, right where your pants button. Pull it tight and tuck it in, but only in the front. Now, blouse it out and turn the edges under on the sides and back. Congratulations! You’ve just used the half-tuck to update your look!
Shoulder interest has been a fashion staple for several seasons now and still is going forward. Rather than the cold shoulder of the past two seasons, shoulder interest could be cut-outs or a little puffy gather at the shoulder…even a padded shoulder. Shoulder interest can be worn at any age and is a feminine embellishment to counter all the tailored clothing looks.
Last, but certainly not least, is to update your shapewear and other undergarments. Shapewear does not have to be uncomfortable—it’s not a bunch of hot, binding girdles anymore. Today’s shapewear is light and breathable, and it elevates your look and confidence. You’ll feel more put together, will look smoother, and will have better posture! Go a size or two up to make sure that you will still be comfortable.
Hopefully, I have given you some great ideas to consider the next time you assess your closet and then go shopping.
Editor’s Note: Holly has been in the fashion industry for over 30 years as a buyer, boutique store owner, visual merchandiser, and fashion show producer. She is currently the owner of a modeling agency. Holly regularly appears on local TV doing fashion segments.
By Holly Bell
Football in the Yard, Gatherings at the Table!
Cut off the tops of 6 apples. Core each one and place them in a muffin tin. In a skillet, sauté 1/3 cup of chopped fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons of walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a dash each of ginger and nutmeg. Stir for a few minutes, until the berries pop. Spoon the mixture into the centers of the apples. Cover with foil. Add a bit of water to the space around the apples. Bake at 325 degrees for 30–35 minutes, or until apples are soft.
Blend together 4 cups of spicy vegetable tomato juice, 1 and 3/4 cups of vodka, 3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons of horseradish, 2 teaspoons of finely grated shallots, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons of dill pickle juice, 2 teaspoons of Tabasco or hot sauce, and 3/4 teaspoon of celery seeds. Shake well and place in refrigerator. Serve over ice. Garnish with celery, black pepper, green olives, pickled okra, or lemon or lime slices.
Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Line the dish with 3 cups of hash browns. Top with 1 cup of cubed ham, 3 diced green onions, 1/2 of a diced green or red pepper, and 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Mix one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (or whole milk) with 5 eggs, several dashes each of black pepper and salt, and hot sauce as desired. Pour over the egg mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 40–45 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Football Game Chip Dip
Combine one 16-ounce carton of large curd cottage cheese and one 16-ounce carton of sour cream. Add a dash of celery seed, 1 package of onion soup mix, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Blend well, either by hand or with a blender. Add a bit of cayenne or hot sauce. Refrigerate. Serve with chips or veggies.
Turkey Dinner for Two
Mix 1 cup of white wine or chicken broth with 1/2 teaspoon of tarragon, a few dashes of salt and black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, and 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. Place 2 turkey breast tenderloins (6–8 ounces each) in a lightly greased casserole dish and pour the broth mixture over the turkey. Place 1 cup of sliced mushrooms and 2 peeled and cut-up sweet potatoes around the turkey.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35–40 minutes, basting occasionally, until the turkey tests done (165 degrees). Remove, cover with foil, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Maude’s Cranberry Sauce
Rinse 1 pound of cranberries and spread them out onto a parchment-lined jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar and 1 Tablespoon of fresh orange zest. Roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes, until the berries are bursting. Let them cool. Put the berries into a bowl and stir well. Add 1 Tablespoon of good brandy. Refrigerate. Makes 3 cups.
Merry Widow Open-Faced Sandwiches
Spread 4 pieces of bread with mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon of cranberry sauce. Place several slices of sliced turkey on top of the sauce and add 1 or 2 pieces of Swiss cheese. Broil for 2–4 minutes, until the cheese is melty.
Thanksgiving Fruit Salad
Wash and dice 2 cups of apples (leave the peel on, if you like). Mix the apples with 1/2 cup of diced pineapple, 1 cup of chopped celery, 1/2 cup of orange segments, 1 cut-up banana, a few diced maraschino cherries, and 1 cup of mini-marshmallows. Whip 1/4 cup of whipping cream and mix it in. Refrigerate. Before serving, stir in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.
Double Crust Pie Pastry
Combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 stick of cubed, unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of cubed, cold vegetable shortening. Mix well (by hand or with a mixer or food processor) until the pastry looks like peas or oatmeal. Add 1/2 cup of cold water until the mixture comes together. Divide into two. Make the mixture into 2 disks. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours (or overnight) before rolling out.
Apple Cider Pie
Peel and slice a variety of apples (Jonathan, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious) until you have 10–12 cups. Put the apples into a large pot along with 3/4 cup of apple cider or juice. Boil and then cover. Cook for 4–6 minutes, stirring. Drain the juice into a smaller pan and set the apples aside. Reduce the juice over medium-high heat for 5–10 minutes until you end up with 1/4 cup. Pour the reduction into the apples. Stir in 1/3 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir well.
Pour the apples mix into a pie pastry crust and dot with a few pieces of butter. Place another crust on top. Flute and vent. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 60 minutes (rotate pie after 30 minutes), until golden and bubbly.
Editor’s Note: Kate has been an Omaha area culinary instructor since 1997. She attended The Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.
By Kate Beiting
Scorpio October 23–November 21
Happy birthday, Scorpio! Traveling with family will be your focus this month. This is the time of year when bonding and making memories impact your life the most. Don’t worry—taking time to be with family will not deter your success in your career. Your hard work and determination are what has made it possible to enjoy the good things in life!
Sagittarius (Nov 22–Dec 22) The prediction for you this month is more travel for leisure. Expect to explore places you have never been and meet all kinds of different people!
Capricorn (Dec 23–Jan 19) Your career is occupying most of your month. You would like to engage socially with people; however, you may need to limit the number of your commitments.
Aquarius (Jan 20–Feb 18) This month is all about education…but not academic education! You are fostering your spiritual education and improving your spiritual side from within.
Pisces (Feb 19–Mar 20) This month, you and your family will enjoy love to the fullest. You are taking a long-needed break, which allows for more quality time with the ones you love most.
Aries (Mar 21–April 19) The stars persist in showing something promising from overseas! Whether it is love, finance, or travel—all signs are pointing positively to overseas. Perhaps there is a big moment in your future!
Taurus (Apr 20–May 20) Optimism looks good on you. Your professional prospects look bright. People know you as one who is not willing to give up easily on your dreams. Prove them right!
Gemini (May 21–Jun 20) The stars are aligned for your professional ambitions. You should be able to reach your career goals by the end of the month!
Cancer (Jun 21–July 22) You will be traveling a lot to showcase your talents. Others will soon come to know how creative you are, and this will bring you profits!
Leo (Jul 23–Aug 22) Fun and entertainment will be the focus of the month. Since Venus is aligned in your favor, your romantic life will be incredible! Others are easily attracted to your charm.
Virgo (Aug 23–Sep 22) Love is blooming for Virgo. Singles will fall into a romantic relationship easily, full of promise and devotion. Current relationships will flourish without any concerns!
Libra (Sep 23–Oct 22) This may be a superb time to start traveling. Whether you are traveling for your profession or to spend time with loved ones for the winter holidays, the time to get going is now!
A Woman's Work
Will the Real Pilgrims Please Stand Up?
What to Wear to Dinner
In all of the years I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, nobody has ever come to our holiday table dressed in Thanksgiving garb. What is Thanksgiving garb? I doubt if too much thought would be required to determine what those first Thanksgiving celebrants wore. After all, didn’t we all grow up learning what pilgrims wore? Of course, it wasn’t just the pilgrims who came to that long-ago first Thanksgiving feast. Native Americans both contributed to and attended that special day, so there are several costume choices to be had when considering what to wear on this most special of American holidays.
Pictures and portrayals abound of the men and women of the earliest colony in their homespun trousers and skirts and shirts and blouses. Remember, every garment was handmade. Even the thread had to be made on a spinning wheel. Shoes were often made by hand, as were outer-garments.
The native Americans, on the other hand, are often pictured in hides or animal skins. These clothes were also fashioned by hand, just like their pilgrim counterparts’ clothing. Not that I’m opposed to home sewing, but the hide way of dressing does have a certain appeal. If it weren’t for all that scraping and conditioning, it might be the way to go.
If we think about other holiday observances, appropriately festive wear is easily identified and organized. At Christmastime, both men and women seem eager to show off holiday sweaters that are festooned with everything from Santa Claus to pine trees to reindeer with blinking red noses. Children and women often wear bells at their hemlines or as special holiday jewelry. In the run-up to Christmas Day and on the big day itself, gentlemen and boys often sport special holiday neckties or stocking caps that feature all kinds of bright and cheerful images.
For Easter, everyone abandons their drab winter clothing and can be seen wearing a vast rainbow of pastels. If that’s not enough like spring, you might catch someone wearing apparel adorned with baby chicks and rabbits or highly decorated Easter eggs.
Of course, the Fourth of July brings another opportunity to dress for the holiday. As we honor the red, white, and blue, a host of options awaits us. Many shirts and blouses, as well as hats and caps and shorts and skirts and bandanas and everything else you could possibly wear, feature the American flag motif in both color and design.
The biggest and best opportunity to dress up for a holiday is, of course, Halloween. This holiday is usually a fashion occasion to remember, with its spooky or silly costumes. Peoples’ imaginations run wild for this opportunity to wear something unusual, and cash registers are kept busy.
Hey, maybe that’s why no one wears Thanksgiving garb! People spend so much of their disposable income on Halloween costumes that there is not enough cash remaining to purchase a Thanksgiving outfit. The obvious solution is to purchase a pilgrim costume for Halloween and wear it again at Thanksgiving dinner.
As we pause at the end of the growing season to give thanks for our bounty and to count our blessings, it doesn’t really matter what we wear to the big meal, does it? The meaning of this season is to stop and take a breath, to reflect on what this last year has brought forward, and to be truly thankful for the many blessings that we enjoy and sometimes take for granted. This is not the time to pick a fight with Uncle Iggy or poke your friends into debating hot topics. Instead, just let good feelings wash over you, share what you have in common, and make new memories with the people who are truly important to you and your loved ones. Take time to heal the wounds that may have cropped up between family members or friends. You will certainly be glad you did.
If you are invited to or are hosting a Thanksgiving feast this season, consider donning a Thanksgiving outfit or costume. Who knows? You just might start a new tradition. A little friendly advice for those of you who will be sprawled out on the couch after eating as you watch and cheer on your favorite football team: Don’t forget to incorporate a stretchy waistband into your Thanksgiving ensemble.
That said, clothes do not a man make, and the same is true of woman. The spirit of the holiday is the thing to focus on. Whatever you decide to wear to your Thanksgiving feast, let me wish you all a very blessed and special Thanksgiving.
By Sharon Knierim
Custom Jewelry Trends
Your Creative Journey
Custom-designed jewelry is exclusive, created specifically for the buyer. Individual pieces can reflect a mood, make a personal statement, or command a presence. With the help of a custom jeweler, you can design a unique piece of jewelry from scratch or revitalize an old piece of jewelry to give it new purpose. If you’re ready to march to the beat of your own drum, read on for inspiration and for what to expect on your custom jewelry journey.
What’s everyone designing this year? A little bit of everything—chandelier earrings, pendants, cuffs, statement rings, and chain-link bracelets. Colorful, chunky pieces are very popular in 2019. Classic hoop earrings never go out of style, but hoops are bigger today, with a bulkier shape. Less-than-perfect pearl necklaces have a refreshed, edgy look, sometimes paired with chunkier chains. Another trend is to add pops of color to custom pieces, like a chunky bracelet or cuffs with a dash of bright enamel.
On the higher end, emeralds and diamonds pair well together, highlighting a gold chain bracelet or necklace. Vintage jewelry is tipping the scales this year, too—think heavy, 1970s-style gold chains, chokers, and gold-engraved coin pieces for earrings or necklaces. Heart-shaped jewelry always feels personal, and there’s a resurgence of this shape, whether in a set of tiered earrings or engraved into a unique ring band. Celestial designs are bringing a heavenly presence into jewelry this year, along with florals. Brooches have also been resurrected this year. Wear them on scarves, jacket lapels, or anywhere that feels right for you.
To begin, sketch your own design or consult with an artist on what you have in mind. Often, a life event like a wedding or a birth is best expressed by a custom piece that preserves that memory forever. Maybe the vision in your head simply doesn’t match what you see in retail stores, and an independent approach might be necessary to translate your vision. You may want elegant drop earrings, a filigreed wedding band, or a chunky rectangular necklace. Whether you’re picturing clean-lined or contemporary, vintage or traditional—go ahead and shape it!
Once you have a sketch, consider the wide varieties of metal to choose from. The ever-popular sterling silver (92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper) is eminently durable. Silver also has health benefits—it has antimicrobial properties and is hypoallergenic, a real boon for people who love to wear jewelry but are allergic to other types of metal.
With a rich history through the rise and fall of civilizations, the gold standard of jewelry is, well, gold! The beauty of this metal has captured the hearts of kings and queens for thousands of years, and it is still adorning the Cleopatra fans of the modern world. Gold is measured in karats (k) and has a brilliant shine. Its malleable nature allows the jeweler creative wiggle room for either classic or contemporary design, but the maximum gold content (24k) is too soft for durable jewelry. Other metals are often mixed with gold to add durability. Choose 18k, which is 75 percent gold, or the common 14k gold, which is 58.5 percent gold. There are other color varieties of gold, too. Pure gold is yellow, but it is the other metals that generally determine the color of gold. White gold, for example, includes lighter metals such as silver and palladium, and rose gold includes copper.
Platinum is rare and is the priciest metal. It would take a trip to the sun or 3,612.2 degrees to melt it, which makes it the perfect metal for a ring, bracelet cuff, or any piece worn close to your skin. However, nothing beats the strength of titanium. This hypoallergenic, scratch-resistant metal is great for body-piercing pieces (but not for rings that you want to be able to resize).
Add gleaming diamonds or colored precious or semi-precious gemstones to make that metal pop. Your artist or jeweler can help you match up the intricate parts of your design. The ideal gemstone for your custom piece depends on you—remember that color influences our brains and our body chemistry by how we perceive it in the light spectrum. Personalize your creation with a gemstone that brings to mind whatever you want to think about. The choices are almost endless, but we’ll mention a few here.
Semi-precious gems such as the opaque blue-green turquoise and olive-green peridot are popular choices for custom jewelry this year. Aquamarine and various quartz varieties such as citrine are also sneaking into the top choices. Crystals remain popular, too, for their beauty, superior color choices, and healing properties.
Garnets are also trending in 2019. Unique and affordable, garnets come in different colors but are most commonly known for their dark red hue. The fierce red pops from almost any base metal, especially sterling. Other top choices include pearls and abalone, both of which boast an iridescent hue. These gems give an otherworldly, even metaphysical, distinction to your jewelry. They’re also associated with a positive healing energy. Native Americans have long combined abalone with sage in spiritual practices, and these energies are still touted today.
Heliotrope, also known as bloodstone, has been associated with magic, and this dark green quartz splattered with red spots is often considered a protective shield from negative energy. The ever-popular choice of green jade, an ornamental mineral, looks spectacular in jewelry and is often associated with nobility and good fortune. Jade can sometimes be waxed or dyed to enhance color or texture. Be sure to check with your jeweler for the quality grade of these stones. Also admired in 2019 is the amethyst, a purple quartz that is soothing to the eye and soul. This harder stone can provide a harmonious effect with carved and faceted edges.
Precious stones, most commonly referring to diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, never go out of style. These stones are generally less abundant than semi-precious stones, but rarity alone does not determine the price tag of a gem. When it comes to diamonds, the four Cs usually determine the value: carat, cut, clarity, and color. Diamonds naturally come in a wide variety of colors, some more common than others.
There are other beautiful gems to consider, like hard-to-find tanzanite, discovered in 1967 in Northern Tanzania. Tanzanite boasts a deep blue-violet hue that may well be worth the $1,200 per carat you’re likely to pay. Black opals, arguably one of the most desired and valued opals, cost around $10,000 per carat. It’s true that monetary value is a common consideration in gemstone selection. When you’re choosing gems, however, take care to remember that the most important element of the value is how much the wearer will enjoy wearing it.
Once the details of your concept piece come together on paper, the next step is usually in the hands of the designer. A digital rendering allows you to see your creation from every angle and make any needed adjustments. After that, a physical model is created, often made of a wax compound.
After final approval, the mold is cast using advanced machines to melt precious metals. Next, the metal is smoothed and sanded before the gemstones are mounted. A final polishing buffs out a crisp, clean finish.
Ask your custom jeweler to explain the design process—though custom jewelry designers do their work in similar steps, they may have differences in their protocol. Ask what kinds of designs are possible. Breathe life into your sketches by asking about wearability, comfort, and metal and gem choices. That 3-D wax model is a great preview of your vision and the last opportunity to ask questions before the actual piece is cast and finished.
You also need to discuss the more practical details of jewelry design: timeline and budget. Most custom jewelry, whether a custom engagement ring (the big date matters!) or a jewel-studded hairpin, takes between six weeks and two months to create. Multiple meetings are needed before the final creation becomes reality. Be sure to have a budget set for your new creation. Find out what the base prices are for designing, materials, and creation, and go from there.
Whether you have an heirloom piece that needs a more modern setting or an idea for a design you’ve never seen, a custom jeweler can make it a reality. Get in touch with a jeweler today and get started on your dream design. You’re worth it!
Sources for this article included: forbes.com, popsugar.com, harpersbazaar.com, and wempe.com.
By Janette Calabro
Electrolysis May Be the Answer
Picture this: You’ve got the perfect dress and the perfect accessories for your big night out. You step out of the shower after scrubbing and shaving, ensuring that your legs are as smooth as silk. As you’re drying those lovely limbs, you notice first one and then another crimson smudge on your snowy white cotton towel. Once again, your budget razor has done its deed. Your legs are now dotted with toilet paper spit wads in an attempt to minimize the damage.
Even worse, picture this: Winter is finally over! The sun is out, and the pool is calling your name. You feel as if you’ve stepped out of an unrelenting deep freeze, throughout which you banned all shaving—after all, no one was going to see your bristly stubble hiding beneath all those warm layers of clothing. Now that spring has sprung, you suddenly realize that you could almost braid the hairs on your legs! You sigh, imagining how the inevitable cuts and bumps resulting from multiple razor passes will wreck the perfect image you have of yourself in that brand-new designer bikini.
Worst of all, picture this: You look in the mirror without your glasses, only to realize that your upper lip hair could give Uncle Phil’s mustache a run for its money!
Now, picture yourself throwing out that razor and waving bye-bye to waxing and plucking. Studies have shown that women spend approximately 72 days during their lifespan shaving or waxing unwanted hair. Don’t you have something more important to do? Here’s the answer: electrolysis hair removal. This is not a new concept. It was first used in the late 1800s and has evolved with modern technology. It’s the only FDA-approved method of permanent hair removal. Popular treatment areas for women include the face, bikini line, underarms, chin and upper lip area, eyebrows, and, of course, legs.
Electrolysis is not just for ladies. If the man in your life has more hair on his back than your faithful canine companion, electrolysis can transform your Sasquatch into a Top Gun beach volleyball dude. It’s also great for underarm hair, eyebrows, or the groin area.
What exactly is electrolysis, and how does it work? Electrolysis removes individual hairs by destroying the growth center of the hair with either chemical or heat energy. It involves inserting an
extremely fine needle into a hair follicle, which then delivers a small amount of electric current or heat into the follicle, destroying the root. Once the follicle is destroyed, hair will not regrow. Electrolysis is effective on people with all skin tones and hair colors.
There are three basic types of electrolysis used today: galvanic electrolysis, thermolysis, or a combination of both. Galvanic electrolysis produces a chemical reaction in the hair follicle to destroy the root. Thermolysis uses the heat from electric current to destroy growth cells. The third process combines both methods.
Electrolysis causes minimal discomfort. Most people experience what they describe as a hot or pinching sensation. The level of discomfort depends on the area being treated and the patient’s sensitivity to pain. For example, the bikini area is likely to be more sensitive than the calf or thighs. The skin in the treatment area may be red or irritated for several hours following treatment. Ice packs and moisturizing cream will help alleviate discomfort. No downtime is required.
No maintenance treatments are needed because treated hair follicles are permanently destroyed and will not regrow. That said, multiple weekly or biweekly treatments over a period of time are required to ensure that all new hair follicles in the area are destroyed. An average is 15–20 treatments per area. A single treatment takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Once you’ve decided that electrolysis is for you, it’s time to research potential practitioners. Most states require a license or certification to perform electrolysis (certified professional electrologist [CPE] is a common credential). If your state doesn’t require this, look for a technician who has been trained at an accredited school. Most facilities offer a free consultation, providing an opportunity to observe the cleanliness of the facility, evaluate the competency and skill of the technician, and get any questions answered.
Are you tired of stressing about leg stubble or random chin hairs? Do you hesitate to lift up your arms while sporting a tank top? Do you feel like you need to cover up your bikini line at the pool? It’s time to ditch those temporary hair removal tools. Do a little investigating and find out if electrolysis is right for you.
Sources for this article included: webmd.com, everydayhealth.com, electrology.com, and medicalnewstoday.com.
By Loretta McCollum
The Value of Time
“Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy: Time.
Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character.
Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience.
Class. Common sense. Dignity.”
—Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”
As I look around me, I begin to notice that money seems to have become the new “religion” for a lot of people. It seems like everyone is in competition to make more, to have more, to one-up the neighbors. Hmm. Why? As the quote by Mr. Bennett points out, money doesn’t have the ability to buy us the things that really matter in our lives.
Out of all of the things that Mr. Bennett lists, the number-one thing that brought his message home for me was Time. Without time, there is no way that we can develop the rest of the list.
It takes time to be able to relax and be Happy. If we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, there is very little Inner Peace. If we have time, we are able to step outside of ourselves and make decisions that uphold our Integrity. Without time, we cannot Love and we are not able to nurture and build our relationships into ones that are healthy and sustainable. Without time, we cannot reflect at the end of the day on the decisions that we have made and on whether we maintained the Character of the person that we want to be.
Time…without time, we rush, we are rude, our Manners go out the window. Our Health suffers if we do not have the time to eat right, exercise, and reduce our stress level. Time encourages us to slow down, move deliberately, and treat everyone with Respect. (This often means they will reciprocate by treating us with respect.) Time allows us to create and follow the Moral Code that we want to live by. If we have the time, we can build Trust in our relationships and have Patience instead of blowing people off.
It takes time to develop and learn how to use our Common Sense. (How many adolescents do you know who haven’t had the time to develop this sorely needed trait?) Last but not least: Dignity. We need time to allow ourselves to find our own paths, ones that will allow us to present ourselves with Dignity and with Class.
If we find ourselves without enough time? Let’s listen to what Mr. Stephen Covey has to say about it!
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent
and not enough time on what is important.”
By Janet Van deWalle
Alone? Lonely? Lonesome?
What’s the Difference?
The Girlz met again recently for coffee, conversation, and companionship. As the makeup of the group changes, so does the conversation. This time, we talked about being alone and the need for friends—or at least other people.
Em recently retired. Her husband is gone a lot, and now she’s ruing her retirement. “I didn’t realize how much my coworkers meant to me—how much we shared,” she laments. “Now, I’m alone most of the time.”
Janie, whose husband died a few months ago, describes a lot of time not taken up by her other activities. “It’s really the most difficult in the evenings,” she relates. “It’s lonely not having an adult to chat with about my day or the news or something on television. The kids and the dog just don’t cut it.”
Barbara comments on how her life has changed since her divorce. “With the kids away, I find myself alone a lot. Most of my friends are part of a couple or have kids and grandkids to do things with. It’s lonesome being just me. Even when I attend the theater, take in a concert, or go to a social event and am around other people, it’s lonely.”
Geri says she likes being alone. “I’m around people a lot. I treasure my alone time when I can work on a project, read, watch television, or whatever, without being interrupted. Even if it’s just for a short while, it’s time for ME.”
Tanya, who is taking extended credit classes for her job, comments that her high schooler comes home and heads straight for his bedroom. “I suggested we do our homework together, or at least in the same part of the house, and was reminded that he prefers the solitude of his room. He says school is noisy, even in study hall or the library. It’s quiet in his room, with no interruptions or distractions…unless he wants them there.”
Meri helps at a local day care. “It’s amazing how kids will play in the same area, right next to each other but not necessarily with each other,” she comments. “They may be sharing blocks, or coloring pages, or dressing up, and still not intermingle or combine their activities. They’re alone but not alone…it’s like they play in parallel worlds.” I’ve seen adults do the same thing.
Maggie does a lot of driving. “I like that time alone. I let my mind wander. I may spend time remembering the past or planning for the future. It’s time to think about stuff in general.”
We came to the conclusion that people (and kids are people, too) need friends—real people friends, not just social media friends. Ours is a social society. We share memories, laughter, and tears and give hugs when they’re needed. We allow others time to themselves. We may want to be alone sometimes, but never lonely or lonesome.
Editor’s Note: Marge has three children, two grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. She holds advanced degrees in education. Her life’s mission is to teach everyone that kids are people, too.
By Marge Shoemaker, BS, MS
Interiors By Design
Home Security Systems
Find the Right System for Your Home
Crime statistics over the past few years have led a growing number of Americans to invest in a home security system. A property crime occurs every 3.7 seconds, resulting in millions of dollars in damages and losses. Equipping your home or business with a security system reduces the likelihood of a break-in by 33 percent. Thanks to new wireless technologies and the increasing use of smartphone apps, achieving home security has never been easier or more affordable. Given the unprecedented number of options on the market, one thing is certain—home security is not a one-size-fits-all solution. For today’s consumers, the challenge becomes one of education, of understanding your security goals and identifying the products that will best meet those needs.
Security systems have evolved to do much more than keep intruders out of your home. They let you communicate with the kids when they get home from school, monitor your home’s lighting and cooling systems, and even let you know when a package has arrived. Choosing the right equipment package, payment plan, and features for your needs depends on what you want to do with your system. How do you choose?
Begin by asking yourself a few questions. What am I protecting? Do I need a nanny cam to keep an eye on the little ones or do I need a sensor to catch a leaky pipe? What is my family’s routine? What is my budget? How big is my home or office? The answers to these questions will guide you to what types of features you want, along with the best method of installation and what size of system you need.
In today’s market, there are essentially three main types of security system packages: home automation, security equipment, and environmental monitoring. Smart tech adjusts to your family’s schedule or preferences with convenient home automation features that allow you to control the system from within your home or remotely through apps on your smartphone. Adjust your home’s thermostat on your drive home from work or let the dog walker in the house while you’re on vacation, all with a simple tap on your phone.
If you’re concerned about issues like intrusion, theft, or vandalism, traditional home security devices like alarms, glass break sensors, and outdoor motion detectors are useful. Doorbell cameras add another layer of security and convenience, letting you speak remotely to anyone at your door. This allows you to greet guests, shoo away solicitors, or talk to the mail carrier. An added bonus—doorbell cameras record anyone who comes to your doorstep, including package thieves! If you live in an older home and worry about home systems that could fail, consider environmental monitoring that can give you peace of mind with features like smoke detectors, leak detectors, and pipe freeze detectors.
Until recently, a consumer’s only choice for home security was to hire an alarm company to install a hard-wired system. This method required a network of wires to be run through your home, along with the installation of a keypad near a door. Most traditional alarm companies have moved to wireless options, offering the latest in technologies to consumers who want a complete solution. These companies have expanded to include smart home automation products such as smart locks and app-controlled lighting and thermostats.
If working with the experts is important to you, then going with a professionally installed home security system is a great option. You won’t have to lift a finger. Companies will send a trained professional to your home for a consultation. In addition to getting a custom package to meet your specific needs, you can discuss your security priorities, budget, and expectations with a real person who has years of industry experience.
If you want to guarantee 24/7 protection of your home, professional alarm monitoring is the best system for you. In the event of a break-in or a fire, the monitoring company will immediately contact you to verify the situation and will dispatch police, firefighters, and an ambulance in an emergency. Unmonitored systems may sound an alarm, but your home will continue to be robbed or burn until you or a neighbor calls for help.
Most security companies carry similar products but bundle them differently. To avoid over-equipping your home with unnecessary bells and whistles, keep your security priorities in mind when reviewing the various packages. At the end of the day, the goal of home security is to provide peace of mind. The very best security system for your home is the one that provides the safety and security you want without breaking your budget or being too complicated.
Sources for this article included: protectamerica.com, consumerreports.com, and safewise.com.
By Robyn V. Powell
Renting Versus Buying
What’s Your Dream?
Buying a home has long been considered part of the American dream, but it can be rough! You have to get approved for a big bank loan, find a decent house within your price range, and then pay for taxes and upkeep every year (not to mention your monthly mortgage payments!). Trying to balance all those different factors within your means can feel like trying to make the stars align. It should be really no surprise that more and more people are choosing to rent or lease their homes instead.
Home prices are on the rise, and the recent real estate climate has been something of a seller’s market. The nation is also going through a major shortage of affordable housing, with a 14 percent cost increase that’s happened in recent years. Expert economists say that almost half of the country’s population lives in areas where the median income simply isn’t enough to afford the rising monthly mortgage costs. Some states have passed laws to put a cap on the cost of rent, which allows many of these areas of the country to have an increase in rent-controlled properties as a more affordable option.
Even in locales where mortgage payments are still typically lower than rent, setting aside enough money to make the up-front down payment and closing costs just isn’t in the cards for a lot of people these days. Many people have added up all these factors and decided that the best choice is to rent a home or apartment.
There’s a subset of the population who chooses to rent over buying because they plan to move within the next five to 10 years. It is just plain easier to wait until your lease is up (or even pay to break it) than it is to go through the process of selling a house. Also, experts say it’s nearly impossible to break even cost-wise if you buy a house and sell it again within five years. Renting simply allows for more flexibility than buying, which can be a very attractive prospect. Even if you’re not planning to move out of town at the end of your lease, it’s easier to upgrade or downgrade to a larger or smaller apartment to suit your current needs when you don’t have to worry about staging and showing your home or paying a real estate agent to do it for you.
Of course, younger people nearly always choose to rent before buying their first home, but this renting trend is not just among the younger set. Many retired seniors who are looking to downsize are choosing to rent apartments instead of purchasing smaller homes. Renting presents an attractive option for retirees on fixed incomes, since there are no unexpected maintenance costs to budget for and no risk of losing the money invested in the property. In an apartment complex, you likely also get some time-saving (and labor-saving) services, like landscaping, snow removal, repairs, and routine maintenance, included in the price of your rent.
Renting may also come with additional amenities. Unless they own quite impressive homes, homeowners typically have to pay extra to have access to a pool, a gym, or a movie theater, while many apartment or townhome complexes have such amenities available on-site for their residents. In addition to the on-site amenities, many apartment complexes offer discounts to local businesses as an extra perk. Many rental complexes will hold regular community events, like holiday barbecues or trunk-or-treat events, which can be a great plus for residents who want to build good relationships with their neighbors.
Renters also likely spend less money on utilities, insurance, and security systems. For ease of billing and getting bulk rates, many rental properties come with some or all of the utility costs included in the monthly rent. Even if they don’t, it still costs less to heat and cool a two-bedroom apartment than a two-story house.
You’ll also have lower out-of-pocket insurance costs, since you’re insuring your belongings and not the entire building. Lastly, security is typically built in and included in the overall building maintenance costs. This can include anything from a secure entry in the lobby, where guests need to buzz in, to a fully gated community that is only open to residents and their guests.
Renting a home is far from “throwing away your money,” as it’s long been considered. Increased equity is no longer guaranteed in real estate, and renting can be a smart and affordable housing option for many people at various times in their lives.
Sources for this article included: cnbc.com, bankrate.com, marketwatch.com, and investopedia.com.
By Anne Yankus
To Your Good Health
Always Gotta Go?
Treatment Is Better Than Ever
Approximately 25 million Americans have urinary incontinence, and about 80 percent of them are women. That’s right! If you suffer from occasional (or more than occasional) urine leakage, you are one of 20 million American women who do so. With numbers like that, there’s no need to feel embarrassed about seeking treatment for this incredibly common condition.
Urinary incontinence is simply the loss of bladder control. It is a symptom, not a disease, and the degrees of severity vary from occasionally leaking urine to having sudden and unstoppable urges to urinate. Many accept incontinence as a normal part of aging and think that there is nothing to be done except buy products to keep it a secret. Don’t accept incontinence as a way of life! Choose instead to have an open discussion with your healthcare provider and get the treatment you deserve.
Incontinence in women can be triggered by pregnancy, childbirth, aging, or menopause. In men, reasons can include an enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, or an obstruction. For both men and women, being overweight, having weakened pelvic muscles, smoking, family history, or diabetes can increase the chances of experiencing incontinence.
Your healthcare provider will begin by identifying what type of incontinence you’re trying to overcome. Types of incontinence include stress incontinence (you leak urine when laughing, coughing, or sneezing) and urge incontinence (you have sudden and intense urges to urinate that cannot be held). You also might have overflow incontinence (frequent, constant dribbling of urine because the bladder does not completely empty). The last type is functional incontinence, which is due to a physical or mental condition.
Your provider will consider what foods, beverages, and medications you are taking, as many can stimulate the bladder. This includes alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, some artificial sweeteners, chocolate, and some spicy foods. Many people may be surprised to learn that their medications, including some medications for high blood pressure, can work as diuretics, causing excess urine excretion.
Once the type of incontinence is determined, the treatment plan can be created. Most doctors will start with the least invasive treatment and advance to more invasive treatments only if necessary. If another medical issue, such as a urinary tract infection, is causing the problem, that will be treated first. Many types of doctors, such as primary care physicians and gynecologists, can diagnose and provide treatment for incontinence. Some patients will see a urologist, who has extensive training in the urinary system, or a urogynecologist, who has specialized training in female urinary care.
Bladder training techniques, where the patient deliberately delays urination or urinates on a schedule, are common first-line treatments. If the cause is overflow incontinence, a patient may try “double voiding,” which is when you go back to urinate a second time shortly after the first time.
Pelvic floor muscle therapy is often recommended, and a patient may need to work with a physical therapist to ensure that the right muscles are being strengthened. In some cases, electrodes are used to stimulate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This is usually when a patient is struggling to strengthen the correct muscles. There are also several medications to treat incontinence. Medical devices designed for women can be inserted each day to prevent leakage.
Newer options include what are called interventional therapies. These treatments include several different injections (such as Botox) and also nerve stimulators that are implanted under the skin.
BTL EMSELLA™ is a great option for women and men who desire a non-invasive solution for urinary incontinence. This FDA-approved procedure treats the entire pelvic floor area. Patients remain fully clothed and may resume daily activities immediately after the treatment.
For some patients still struggling with incontinence after less invasive treatment, surgery is the best option. There are several different surgical procedures to consider. Laser surgery can be used to treat some forms of incontinence and can provide immediate improvement with little or no downtime. Laser surgery can often improve more than just bladder control—menopausal women may consider it to treat multiple urogynecological problems in one procedure.
Those of us who are already experiencing urinary incontinence can derive great benefit from knowing the different types and causes of the condition. This knowledge may even benefit those who do not have this problem, if it prompts them to take steps now to decrease their chances of needing treatment in the future. Proactive steps against developing urinary incontinence include keeping your weight in a healthy range, limiting caffeine intake, avoiding smoking, and doing exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Stop feeling embarrassed and schedule an appointment with your doctor today.
Sources for this article included: health.com, mayoclinic.org, and verywellhealth.com.
By Leslie Byrne
Focus On Finance
It’s Your Money
Don’t Spend Your Nest Egg on Excessive Fees
In May of 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that employers who offer 401(k) plans to their employees have a responsibility to provide their employees with plans that charge “reasonable fees.” Since that decision, a large number of suits against Fortune 500 companies have been filed and settled, and the employees have been compensated for their losses. However, tens of thousands of workers at smaller companies continue to be overcharged for their 401(k) plan because the impact of the legal decision has not trickled down to them.
The Department of Labor, the governmental agency charged with regulating 401(k)s, estimates that the average worker pays between 1.35 percent and 1.85 percent for the management of a 401(k) plan. They project that a worker just entering the labor force who reduces that fee by 1 percent would have an additional 39 percent at retirement. Based upon these statistics, American workers will pay $40 billion more this year than the Department of Labor thinks they should.
There are several fees associated with a 401(k) plan. There is a fee paid to the plan administrator for bookkeeping and legal work. There is a fee paid to a financial advisor, who selects the mutual funds that the plan participants can access. Finally, there is a fee paid to manage the mutual funds used by the account owners to grow their assets. On the surface, this arrangement seems reasonably straightforward. However, in application, the providers use a variety of ways to make it difficult to determine who gets paid how much and for what.
The fees can be calculated using one of two methodologies, and the methodology chosen can dramatically impact the number of dollars participants have when they retire. Currently, about 99 percent of the fees are calculated as a percentage of assets. This means that, as your account balance grows, the fee paid to the provider increases. Several issues arise when this method is used. Why should you pay more for the same service just because your account balance increased? It takes the same amount of time and effort to fill out a 5500 form for a $5,000 account as it does to fill out the same form for a $500,000 account. Also, are you getting value equal to the amount of fee paid?
Competitive forces are emerging within the financial services industry that have the potential to dramatically lower the cost of managing a 401(k). Some brokers are offering 401(k) services at a flat rate—that is, you pay a specified dollar amount in fees, regardless of your account balance. A person with a $500,000 balance pays the same fee as a person with a $5,000 balance.
To see what a dramatic difference this can make, consider the following example based upon guidelines prepared by the Department of Labor. A person with a $250,000 account whose plan administrator is charging 0.40 percent will pay $1,000 in fees. The same service can be obtained from a flat-fee provider for $75. Going forward, flat-fee providers will erode the client base currently served by the asset-based providers because they offer the same service at a significantly lower price.
At the center of this battle is the business owner. The Supreme Court said the company is the responsible party because they determine which providers have access to their employees and which providers the employees have access to. Thus, employees are defenseless when their only option is out of line with the marketplace. While the Court ruled that employers have a legal responsibility to provide their employees with a reasonably priced 401(k) plan, they stopped short of saying what constitutes a reasonable price. Thus, employers are obligated to explore how various vendors are pricing their services and not accept at face value that their offering is acceptable.
What’s the solution? Education—for employers and employees alike. A good place to start is the Department of Labor document called “A Look at 401(k) Plan Fees.” (You can access this document online by going to and typing “401k fees” into the Search box.) In this document, you will find more detailed information about the various 401(k) fees and guidelines about what you should be paying for your retirement fund.
Then, you need to go to your employer and ask for detailed information on the fees you are currently paying for your plan. Find out how much you are being charged for plan administration, mutual fund selection, and maintenance for all the mutual funds you can choose from. The Department of Labor says that a plan should cost less than 1 percent, and there are vendors in the marketplace who will do it for less than that.
It’s your money. Give it to yourself, not your broker.
Editor’s Note: Professor Morgan has over 40 years’ experience in the investment field, both as a university professor and as a financial advisor. He currently serves on the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he directs a program designed to educate 401(k) plan participants on how to improve their investment strategy.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.
By George Morgan
Seasons of Life
Palliative Care vs Hospice Care
What’s the Difference?
Many of us have some knowledge of hospice care, gleaned when someone we knew received specialized care at the end of a terminal illness. What about the newer medical field of palliative care? After only 10 years of formal recognition as a sub-specialty, palliative care programs are now available at most major hospitals for patients who are living with serious illness. Palliative care can be practiced both within and outside of hospice care. It aims to relieve the symptoms and the stress of an illness. Improved quality of life, for the patient and the family, is the focus.
Hospice care is not intended to cure or extend the life of those with six months or less to live. Palliative care, however, may be provided in cases of serious (but not imminently terminal) illnesses, while the patient is receiving treatment to cure the disease or to extend life. Examples of such illnesses include cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
The principles of palliative care include relief from pain and unpleasant symptoms. Psychological and spiritual aspects of care are often integrated, and support is provided to the patient and family. The palliative care team works to enhance quality of life.
Those in hospice care also receive help with symptom relief and other support (that is, palliative care), but the hospice patient and family have accepted that the end of life is near (generally, within six months).
Hospice care is provided in the setting that the patient calls home. That might be a private residence, an assisted living facility, a hospital, a nursing home, or a hospice residential facility. Medicare-certified hospice providers must offer four levels of care: routine home care, continuous home care, inpatient care, and respite care.
Routine home care involves nurse and physician, social services, home health care, medication, counseling, therapy, medical equipment, and supplies. With continuous home care, a nurse or aide remains in the home environment on a short-term basis to address severe pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or anxiety. This level of care can stand in when the patient’s caregiver support system is unable to manage care. Inpatient care is provided when severe symptoms cannot be relieved at home or the patient feels more comfortable as an inpatient. Respite care may be provided at an inpatient facility on a short-term basis, when caregivers need a break.
Hospice providers educate and support the family members who care for their loved ones in their homes. Providers teach caregivers to manage such things as medication, safety, skin care, emergencies, food, fluid, catheters, and so on. Caregivers learn how to provide emotional support when anxiety or agitation occurs.
A freestanding facility or a special unit of a skilled nursing facility may be dedicated to hospice care. Specialized services include 24-hour nursing staff, therapy, counseling, assistance with personal care, and grief support. Many have specially trained volunteers who spend time with patients, providing important social support.
In some cases, a hospice patient’s condition improves. Such patients can be re-certified for a period extending beyond the six-month limit or can leave hospice care and return later when specialized care is again needed.
The newer concept of palliative care outside of hospice is rapidly expanding—in fact, the American Society of Clinical Oncology now recommends that all patients with advanced cancer receive palliative care. Doctors and nurses obtain special training in the field. Patients who receive palliative care have fewer ER visits and less hospitalization. They maintain more control and independence. Their treatment specialists focus on curative or life-extending care, and the palliative care team attends to everything else.
This close-knit team may include physician, nurse, physician’s assistant, social worker, dietician, pharmacist, and chaplain. They provide important coordination and communication between the fragmented elements of the healthcare system.
The patient may experience pain, nausea, sleep issues, or difficulty breathing. Palliative care can include occupational or physical therapy, medications, and dietary counseling. Because families and patients experience stress and anxiety during serious illnesses, palliative care may include support groups or help for mental health. Assistance may be needed to understand treatment options, to get to appointments, or to cope with financial issues.
While six months is the usual limit for hospice, palliative care may continue as long as needed. Both are typically covered by Medicare and most private insurance.
A primary care physician or hospital can help you locate hospice or palliative care providers in the community. These specially trained providers can help ease the passage through a serious or terminal illness.
Sources for this article included: medlineplus.gov, getpalliativecare.org, capc.org, and hospicefoundation.org.
By Linda Barnes
Chiropractic and Acupuncture
Noninvasive Therapies to Combat Pain
Do you suffer from pain? Are you looking for a solution that doesn’t rely solely on medication? Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability, and medication can help in many cases. However, complementary therapies like chiropractic care and acupuncture offer alternatives to conventional medical approaches such as anti-inflammatory drugs, surgery, or opioids.
Although the roots of chiropractic date back to the ancient Greeks, Daniel David Palmer is recognized as the founder of modern chiropractic. He selected the name chiropractic, which means “hand-done,” as derived from the Greek words “cheir” (hand) and “praktos” (done). Chiropractic care focuses on the body’s capability to heal itself. Palmer believed that the body’s nervous system had natural healing power, which led him to the idea of spinal misalignment and then to spinal adjustment. He performed the first chiropractic adjustment in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa.
Chiropractic is a noninvasive, hands-on, drug-free treatment method. It’s commonly used to treat back, neck, and joint pain; headaches; musculoskeletal system disorders; and a wide range of injuries. The nervous system is often involved in these painful conditions, which may cause dysfunction or pain in other areas of the body. There are many techniques that chiropractors use to treat these types of conditions. Chiropractic can also help athletes by eliminating pain, improving flexibility and balance, and building strength.
Common techniques include joint manipulation, heat and ice therapy, sustained pressure techniques, exercise, massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and traction massage. Joint manipulation involves a rapid, gentle thrust, done by hand, whose aim is to improve joint mobility and performance. Heat and ice therapy may be used to help treat pain. Your chiropractor will most likely recommend exercises to improve flexibility, help with blood circulation, strengthen the back, and reduce pain. Sustained pressure techniques involve applying pressure to a specific area to get muscles to relax.
Another technique of chiropractic is referred to as NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropratic Association). This technique reduces pain and suffering, restoring and optimizing health by precisely aligning the head and neck to sustainably balance the body. According to the national website nucca.org, there are only 350 chiropractors in the world specifically trained in this method.
TENS units utilize electrodes that are placed over painful areas to provide electrical stimulation. This type of therapy is believed to block pain signal transmissions along nerves and to release endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers. In a traction massage, the patient lies face up, and a series of rollers move up and down the back to massage and stretch muscles, usually before an adjustment. Your chiropractor will meet with you to assess your condition and determine the best course of therapy.
Chiropractors are licensed healthcare professionals with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. This degree usually takes about seven years to obtain; students must have three years of undergraduate education before enrolling in a D.C. program. Schools that offer the D.C. degree must be accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education. The program of study includes classes in anatomy and physiology as well as clinical experience.
Acupuncture has been relieving pain for centuries, but the practice didn’t gain national attention in the United States until the 1970s. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health acknowledged acupuncture’s benefits and use in conventional medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s believed that the life force known as “qi” (pronounced “chi”) flows through pathways in the body that must be in balance for optimum health. Acupuncture is a treatment technique in which thin needles are inserted through the skin at specific body points to rebalance the body’s energy flow.
Acupuncture has been found effective in helping with chronic pain in areas such as the lower back, neck, and knees. Acupuncture may also help with tension and migraine headaches.
Your practitioner will meet with you to learn about your symptoms, habits, and lifestyle. The treatment schedule depends on the problem being treated, but six to eight 30-minute treatments is a common course. Once you’re on the treatment table, between five and 20 acupuncture needles are inserted at various points and depths on your body. The practitioner may spin or lightly move the needles once they are in place. The needles typically stay in place for 10–20 minutes while you relax and remain still.
Licensing requirements for acupuncture can vary by area, so it’s important to discuss credentials and experience with any practitioner you’re considering. LAc (licensed acupuncturist) is a common designation.
Talk to your healthcare providers about using one of these complementary treatments to help combat pain. You may find that a combination of conventional medical treatment and alternative therapy is just what you need.
Sources for this article included: acatoday.org, mayoclinic.org, nccih.nih.gov, palmer.edu, and spine-health.com.
By Angella A. Arndt
Enjoy the Road, All Season Long!
Winter Driving Preparation
Winter is coming, with all its beauty. The snow lets us take our kids sledding, have snowball fights, or make snow angels. We can go snowmobiling or, if we live near the mountains, skiing or snowboarding. The winter holidays bring families together…which often means road trips. The ice and snow can make driving more dangerous and difficult.
It’s vital to prepare your vehicle for snowy driving. A few important items to consider when preparing for
this winter include tires, heater, battery, antifreeze, and an emergency kit.
Your tires are the biggest factor in how well your car drives during winter weather. Inspect your tire tread to make sure it is not too worn by doing the penny test. Place a penny in the tread of each tire, with Lincoln’s head pointed toward the tire. If you are able to see most or all of his head, it is likely time to replace your worn-out tires.
All-season tires can work fairly well for driving in the winter and are what most vehicles have. Winter tires work even better, especially if you anticipate a lot of driving in ice and snow. Winter tires will help you in situations that include black ice or driving up or down hills that are covered with snow or ice. If you live in an especially mountainous area, you may want to consider putting chains on your tires, though these are not necessary for most driving conditions.
Of course, the heater in your car makes driving in cold weather more comfortable, but it may not seem like an essential item—after all, you could just bundle up. However, if you get stranded during the winter, you’ll need your heater to stay safe. Run it a little while the weather is still mild, just to make sure it works. If it doesn’t, check with your mechanic.
Your battery should be checked for the same reason. If you get stuck in the snow, it is extremely important to have a strong battery so you can start your car when you are able to leave. Your mechanic can check your battery’s strength during routine maintenance or an oil change.
Antifreeze does exactly what it sounds like: It keeps the liquids in your vehicle from freezing during especially cold temperatures. Making sure your antifreeze is topped off can help prevent you from becoming stranded by a car that’s too cold to start. Your mechanic can show you how to add antifreeze if you don’t know how.
Even if your vehicle is ready for winter, it’s still possible that you could get stuck. In this case, an emergency kit could save the lives of everyone in your car. It’s smart to keep a first-aid kit, cell phone charger, flashlight, jumper cables, flares, and snacks and water in your car year-round. For winter, consider adding extra outerwear, an ice scraper, tire chains, blankets or sleeping bags, and a portable air compressor.
In addition to the essentials, there are a few items that will make your winter driving experience easier and more enjoyable. Heated wiper blades may sound like a luxury, but they can actually do a lot for your safety. By melting away built-up ice and snow, they can increase your visibility. They will also decrease the time you have to spend standing around in the cold, scraping the windshield.
If you want your vehicle to be warm when you get in, consider an automatic starter. These can be installed in cars that didn’t come with them. A car started remotely can’t be driven away because the key isn’t in the ignition. As an added layer of security, some starters come with timers that will turn off the engine after a certain amount of time.
If it’s true comfort you’re after, consider heated seats. Many vehicles include them, and after-market options are also available. Low-tech ways of improving your winter driving experience include adding a steering wheel cover and driving gloves. These simple additions can do wonders for making your drive more comfortable.
The time and effort spent scraping a windshield after a storm can be frustrating or even dangerous because of the time spent in the extreme cold. Windshield de-icer will cut this time by melting the ice. These de-icing liquids lower the temperature of freezing for water, which also helps keep the windshield from freezing over again while you are driving. You can purchase these solutions at auto parts stores and pour them into your windshield washer fluid reservoir. If you need a refresher on where to pour, your mechanic can show you.
Take a little time to prepare your car for winter so you can focus on the beauty of the season instead of the hassle of driving in the snow!
Sources for this article included: constellation.com, bridgestonetire.com, autotraining.edu, everblades.com, vaistech.com, and aaa.com.
By Brennan Hallock
The Good Life
Flotation Therapy and Cryotherapy
Spa Sessions for Maximum Wellness
Our bodies are dynamic. They are meant to withstand extremes of temperature and terrain. They can move swiftly through the world or rest contemplatively upon it. In our modern society, most bodies endure an unfortunate repetitive stillness. We sit in climate-controlled cars to be carried to work, where we sit with our arms and backs slouched in a forward position. When we do enjoy movement by exercising, doing housework, or playing with the kids, we often overdo it and injure ourselves. We find our bodies locked in a cycle of discomfort and inflammation. Add to that cycle a painful condition like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or fibromyalgia, and our bodies may feel like a burden, rather than a gift.
Two modern therapies that are based on ancient treatments may offer relief. Flotation spas and cryotherapy spas are regaining popularity as ways to honor and care for our bodies while relieving some of our aches and pains.
For centuries, bath spas in the spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, have included a quick bath in icy water. In the Netherlands, the New Year is often celebrated with a nieuwjaarsduik—that is, a quick swim in the icy lake. Besides the thrill of facing such shocking temperatures, there may be some real health benefits to this frigid plunge.
Cryotherapy (literally, “cold therapy”) treatments come in two forms—localized and whole-body. Both use freezing temperatures to reduce inflamed and sore tissues and to deaden irritated nerves.
Whole-body cryotherapy is usually administered in an enclosed chamber (with the head remaining outside) or in a small, sealed room while wearing protective socks, gloves, and head gear—but little else. The body is exposed to temperatures that are typically colder than negative 200 degrees Fahrenheit for two to four minutes.
Though many people have reported success with cryotherapy, it has not yet been approved by the FDA for medical treatment of any condition. Due to the extreme effect these temperatures can have on the body, your doctor must be consulted prior to seeking therapy.
Proponents list a number of ailments that can be eased with cryotherapy. Many say that cooling the neck has been helpful in the treatment of migraines. For clients with arthritis, the extreme temperature has relieved joint pain, which allowed for longer and more aggressive forms of physical and occupational therapy. Elite athletes have shortened their recovery time with cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy may also improve conditions in the brain. Clients who suffer from mood disorders report improvement with regular cryotherapy sessions, due to the release of adrenaline and endorphins. There are early indications that cryotherapy may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It is thought that the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant response from cryotherapy helps correct the vascular and toxin imbalances and reduce the brain inflammation that may contribute to the development of these diseases. Like any therapy, benefits are best seen after a series of repeated sessions.
Flotation spas are another increasingly popular way to rejuvenate the body and focus the mind. The water in a flotation spa has a salt concentration so high (30 percent) that the body finds natural buoyancy. The body floats so effortlessly that a person could drift off to sleep and not sink under the water. The Epsom salts used to enrich the water are beneficial for skin, hair, and nails. The magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen naturally detoxify the body by eliminating heavy metals and other toxins.
At a flotation spa, clients are given time alone in a whirlpool-sized pod. Some prefer to close the lid of the pod to enhance the sensory-deprivation aspect of floating, while others prefer to keep the pod uncovered. Every experience is crafted to meet the preferences of the client in regard to lighting, music, or neither. The water is at body temperature, so any sense of time and space seems to slip away.
One of the blessings of flotation therapy is that nothing needs to be done while receiving the benefits. It is simply a time move away from the chaos of the world and into a meditative state. Some clients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) find tranquility in regular flotation sessions, due to decreased production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Competitive athletes and musicians use flotation therapy for increased mental focus and shortened recovery time for muscles. The spine naturally elongates while floating, and lactic acid drains from the muscles, reducing soreness and speeding healing.
Be kind to your body. Cryotherapy and flotation therapy spas are modern answers to age-old quests for wellness, relaxation, pain relief, and a better night’s sleep.
Sources for this article included: health.harvard.edu, fda.gov, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, and aad.org.
By Maria Harding
Here We Come!
People who are young or young at heart tend to love Disney theme parks. Whether you prefer Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, or one of the international Disney parks, there is a fun and memorable vacation awaiting you and your family at Disney.
Planning a Disney vacation requires making some decisions: Who gets to go, and which park will you visit? Will you be going all-out, visiting one of the international theme parks in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Shanghai? Will you stay stateside to see the originals in Orlando or Anaheim? Will you take a Disney cruise with Adventures by Disney or stay at their Aulani Resort and Spa in Oahu, Hawaii? Oh, have you not heard of those last two? Yes, there are many Disney choices besides the original American theme parks. Your ideal destination may end up depending on how much time you have to spend on vacation!
For some, a one-day visit to one of the theme parks while taking a trip to the general area sounds great; for others, the destination is all about the parks and being surrounded by the Disney experience. Which is it for you? If you are only visiting for a day, I would recommend booking accommodations that are central to the other sights you will see on your trip. If you want to spend every possible moment at the theme parks, then enlist a travel agent to get you a vacation package that includes staying at the Disney resorts. There are a lot of perks to staying so close, but it comes at a premium. It takes a lot of research online to plan the perfect trip—why not let a pro take care of you and yours?
Disneyland and Disney World sound similar, but they actually have almost completely different rides, resorts, dining choices, shows, and experiences. They also have different parks within the park: Disneyland has Disney California Adventure Park, and Disney World has Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Disneyland has three in-park resorts versus Disney World’s 25-plus to choose from. Disney World also has golf courses and water parks, whereas Disneyland does not. Disneyland covers 500 acres; Disney World clocks in at a whopping 43 square miles! Bigger isn’t always better, though—a smaller park can feel more manageable. Decide what is best for you and your travel partners.
At the spa resort property in Oahu, lovers of the Disney character Moana can relive the island experience. According to the Aulani Resort website, activities are designed to immerse visitors in island culture that is “laced with magical Disney touches.” Mickey, Minnie, and their friends will be there, too!
If you’re looking for Disney around the world, consider Shanghai Disneyland. Opened in 2016, it has the largest castle of all the theme parks. The one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences show how Shanghai Disney offers what their website describes as a “culturally distinct experience—imagined especially for China and designed for guests of every kind.” Extra shopping and dining can be found at Disneytown. Look online for photos of their Toy Story Hotel!
The resort options at Disneyland Paris put you in a different environment, with Davy Crockett Ranch, a calming forest retreat, and Villages Nature Paris, which makes you feel in harmony with nature. Hong Kong Disney’s Kingdom Club themed suites are definitely picture-perfect. Tokyo Disneyland was the first of the parks outside of the United States. It features DisneySea, a park themed after the myths of the sea.
We haven’t even discussed the Disney Cruise Line, which includes destinations as widely varied as the Caribbean islands, northern Europe, the Mediterranean, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Mexican Riviera. The onboard activities include all things Disney, especially if you embark on a themed voyage like Star Wars Day at Sea, Marvel Day at Sea, or Halloween on the High Seas.
If some of these options strike you as a fun vacation without the kids, you’re not alone. Frankly, I know more adults without children who have annual passes than families who do. When asked why they love Disney, comments like “nostalgia” and “escape from reality” are common, as are the wide variety of things to do, fun entertainment options, and enjoyable people-watching. All of those things will likely be in full force at Disney’s soon-to-open Hotel New York—The Art of Marvel, which will be like a Manhattan art gallery full of Marvel artwork.
Disney theme parks, resorts, and cruises are great for kids and adults alike. Plan your next escape from reality today!
Sources for this article included: disney.com, disneyparks.disney.go.com, disneylandparis.com, and disneycruise.disney.go.com.
Editor’s Note: Jackie has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared in publications including Colorado Golf, Desert Golf, and Canadian Architecture & Design. Her blogs can be found at BoardandRide.com and the luxury and adventure travel website, ArtofTripping.com.
By Angella A. Arndt
The Green Thumb
Late Autumn Chores
What to Do Before the Snow Flies
The growing season has again come to an end, but there are still chores to be taken care of in the garden. You might think that after months of toil (or fun, or both), there would be absolutely nothing left to achieve. In actuality, gardening never truly comes to an end. Perhaps people are drawn to gardening for this exact reason…maybe that’s why the act of gardening is the number-one pastime in the United States. Gardening can include everyone, from small children to the elderly. People with disabilities can engage in gardening on many levels.
What could there possibly be to do when most of the plants seem to have lost all of their lives? Fear not, Weed Warriors! For months, you have risen from your beds to complete garden tasks before the day’s heat and humidity took over the yard or vegetable garden. If you choose, you can actually keep busy with gardening all year—there are definitely enough chores to do and garden fun to be had for 12 months of each year.
Let’s start with the mess. At the end of the season, there is garden trash to be removed. Some materials from the garden can be added to an existing compost (or a new compost can be started). Be selective when choosing compost elements; don’t add seeds, weeds, or other unwanted ingredients. Sadly, an astonishing number of gardeners neglect composting or do not understand the importance of compost and its value to gardening and plant health. Don’t let this be you! Compost enriches the soil in so many ways that it is commonly known as “black gold” to people who use it. Of course, compost can be purchased at gardening centers, but don’t forget that you probably already have a good supply of it at home, just waiting to be “cooked up” and, eventually, added to the garden’s soil.
Before the soil freezes or the ground becomes covered with snow and ice, take some time to plant some spring-blooming bulbs that will herald the return of springtime in just a few short months. Be sure to choose the best and healthiest-looking bulbs you can find. The soil where bulbs are to be planted should be well dug and tilled, providing some air for the bulbs. Do not place bulbs in tightly compacted soil.
Soil depth is important for proper bulb success. If you’re buying bulbs in a bag, look for planting directions on the label. If you’re purchasing individual bulbs, ask for an information sheet or talk to a knowledgeable employee about planting specifics. Because bulbs announce the arrival of spring and new life, it can be fun to mix up different types of bulbs. If doing so, remember that different types of bulbs require different planting depths. It’s advisable to plant bulbs in groups of odd numbers for best visual appeal. While you’re down there with the spade, don’t forget to dig up such plants as cannas and store them properly inside so they can be replanted again next year.
Gardening, especially late in the season, is all about anticipating and planning for the next season…which is actually not very far in the future.
Most of us know what type of tools we need for the gardens we have. Season after season, we find that some of our tools become our favorites. Though we love them, these “old reliables” will need to be replaced or upgraded from time to time. There are some bargains to be had at end-of-season sales, making this a good time to find that special replacement tool you may have been wishing for.
The late fall and winter months also provide an excellent opportunity to repair, sharpen, and repaint hand tools. When providing maintenance to these garden essentials, please remember to first clean off any rust or dirt that may have accumulated. Some hand tools (especially those with moving parts) may need to be oiled so that they can perform well next spring and summer. Do not leave hand tools out of doors during harsh weather. Instead, store them in a dry and secure area inside. From time to time in your gardening career, you’ll come across an irreplaceable tool. If properly cared for and well maintained, solid tools can last for many seasons.
Don’t let the coming of winter stop you from doing your garden chores! When you’re done in the yard, you can come inside, sit down with a warm drink, and start sketching out next year’s garden.
Editor’s Note: Sharon Knierim has been a Master Gardener since 2003 through Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She lives on a small farm in western Iowa and looks forward to sharing her passion for gardening each month with her green-thumbed friends.
By Sharon Knierim
Pet Dental Care
Don’t Fix Problems—Prevent Them!
Having their teeth brushed is probably not most pets’ idea of a great time. It’s wise to keep in mind the adage that “a healthy pet is a happy pet” and ensure that your pets get regular dental care, whether or not they love the attention to their teeth. One of the major reasons this type of care is so important for pets is that the bacteria in an animal’s mouth can spread to other parts of the body and cause secondary infections such as liver, heart, kidney, or joint disease. Fortunately, regular trips to the vet for dental care can help pets avoid potential medical concerns down the road, as well as any pain or suffering that can come with damaged teeth. Like most preventative care options, consistent pet dental care can save a pet owner money in the long run, as an unexpected medical issue due to bad teeth is less likely to arise.
In addition to regular dental care, there are some factors to watch out for that might mean your pet needs immediate dental attention. Some indicators might be particularly bad breath, broken or loose teeth, extra teeth or retained baby teeth, teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar, abnormal chewing, reduced appetite, or even bleeding or swelling in the mouth.
Just like people, pets can become irritable when they have dental problems. Pet owners should watch for changes in behavior that could indicate an underlying problem. If an animal demonstrates any of these signs, it’s important to have the teeth and mouth checked as soon as possible. Bear in mind that animals can be tricky about hiding their pain, which is another reason that regular dental exams are imperative for catching issues before they get out of hand.
Periodontal disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque, is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats. In fact, four out of five dogs over the age of three years have some sort of periodontal disease. Other health problems that have been associated with periodontal disease include kidney disease, liver disease, and heart muscle changes. Experts stress that early detection and treatment are key when it comes to these conditions. Some other common dental problems that can occur in pets include broken teeth and roots, abscesses or infected teeth, cysts or tumors in the mouth, malocclusion, broken jaw, and palate defects.
On average, experts say that an animal’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by a veterinarian. Veterinary dentistry generally includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of a pet’s teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. Keep in mind that a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia because most dental disease occurs below the gumline. These procedures should always be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist—thorough cleanings are not something a pet owner can do at home.
The in-office dental exam starts with an examination of the pet’s mouth, followed by x-rays, if needed, to evaluate the health of the jaw and tooth roots below the gumline. Dental cleaning includes removing dental plaque and tartar, as well as polishing; it’s similar to the process at a human dentist’s office.
Along with the regular dental care provided by a veterinarian, pet owners should also take certain measures at home to ensure the health of their animal’s teeth. Routine brushing is the most effective thing pet owners can do to keep their pets’ teeth healthy between professional dental cleanings. Regular brushing at home may help to reduce the frequency of professional dental cleanings, as well.
Cleaning your animal’s teeth might seem like a hard task to master, but committing to your pet’s oral health is extremely important. Dogs are generally more willing than cats to have their teeth brushed. No matter what type of animal you have, training is key. Your veterinarian can show you the best brushing techniques. The vet can also help you avoid spending money on products that claim to improve pet dental health but aren’t actually effective.
The best way to know what’s right for your pet is to talk with a trusted veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet. Pet parents will find that going the extra mile for their pet’s dental health will surely pay off, as good dental hygiene leads to a longer, healthier, and happier life for any pet. Talk to your veterinarian today about the best schedule for your pet’s teeth.
Sources for this article included: vetmed.tamu.edu, avma.org, and pethealthnetwork.com.
By Brie Christensen
Always Follow Your Gut
Intuition Is Your Superpower
“Oh boy, that idea feels really bad.” Have you ever had this happen to you? What did you do? Did you push forward? Did you stop, take a deep breath, and get ahold of what you were really feeling?
“You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach?
Listen to it.” —Sally Kathryn
Gut instinct is a feeling that most of us have had at some point in our lives. Perhaps it was in regard to a romantic relationship, a career opportunity, or a planned outing with friends. Many times, we let our brain override our gut and decide to go for it.
“Always trust your gut; it knows what your
head hasn’t figured out yet.” —Anonymous
Gut feelings are not always warning us about something bad. I remember 23 years ago when I was with my kids and husband. We were kind of bored and decided to be nosy and check out the house for sale down the street. None of us liked that house, but the realtor suggested a house a few blocks away. We proceeded to the next open house. As we were walking up the front walk, I had a sudden and overwhelming feeling that we were going to buy the house. We had not even crossed the threshold. I turned to my family and said, in astonishment, “We are going to buy this house!”
“Never apologize for trusting your intuition.
Your brain can play tricks, your heart can be blind,
but your gut is always right.” —Rachel Wolchin
My “rational mind” immediately started in with rational thoughts, like how the sellers were asking too much, how we couldn’t afford it, how it needed way too much work. Long story short: A month later, we ended up buying it, at a hugely reduced price. Our friends and family thought we had lost our minds. It was a true “fixer upper,” but we made it our own. I have now been there for 23 years, and buying that house is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
“Her intuition was her favorite superpower. ”—Anonymous
I believe that all of us have this superpower. The key to unlocking it is to begin to trust ourselves and know that our inner being is trying to get our attention. Our gut feelings are coming to us to give us a heads-up on whether we should go for something…or not.
“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.” —Richard Branson
If that’s the attitude that brings Richard Branson success, I think I’ll follow his lead!