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How I enjoy holidays parties without food guilt.

by Isabel De Los Rios
Just too good not too re-post…
Today I want to share with you how I keep up my healthy eating regimen even during all the holiday parties and events.

Actually, the strategies you’ll find below are NOT just specific for the holidays, you can use these methods for any social gathering and party that you may be attending.

Just last Saturday, I hosted my own little party for the parents from my kid’s school. It was really great. A lot of us only see each other during drop off and pickup so it was nice to get to know the other parents outside of the school parking lot.

Many of these parents don’t know me at all…so they don’t know how passionate I am about nutrition and health or that we are completely gluten free and don’t eat any processed food. My goal for the party was to choose foods that would make everyone happy, without having to resort to unhealthy “party” foods.
isabel
Here is what I served:

Corn chips (organic, non GMO) and home-made guacamole
Rice crackers and goat cheese
Raw cheese platter
Veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip
Fruit salad

The party was a huge hit! By the amount of food that was left (almost none) and the wonderful compliments I received, I could safely assume that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and did not go home feeling lousy.

Now, a party at my house would be super easy to work with, BUT what if the party you’ll be attending is not quite an Isabel bash? What do you do then?

Here are my top 3 strategies for surviving your next social event or party. These are methods I personally use all the time so I am always excited about any social event or gathering regardless of the food being served.

1. Offer to bring something to the party. I very rarely go to anyone’s home without bringing something homemade (and my friends and family really look forward to it). The host or hostess is always so grateful and at least I know, if nothing else, I can eat the item I brought. Many of the items that I served at my last party (shown above) are also some of the items that I bring to parties. I have also been known to make cocktail meatballs (made from grass fed beef), chicken skewers (made from pastured poultry) or smoked salmon on cucumber slices. You may want to give your hostess/host a few options and see which one appeals to him or her the most. (Tip: Guacamole and fresh veggies is almost always a huge hit everywhere I go!)

2. Eat before the party. Do not arrive starving! If you really don’t think the party will offer anything that is an acceptable option for you, eat beforehand so that you are not partying hungry. If someone asks why you’re not eating, you can use any of the following responses and none of them would be lying: “I had a really late lunch and I’m not quite hungry yet. Everything does look great and I’ll be sure to try something out,” OR “I’m definitely going to grab something here in a sec. Thanks for asking,” OR my personal favorite, “I get pretty sick if I eat any wheat or dairy so I try and stay away from it. I definitely would not want to get sick at this great party.” As far as I’m concerned, none of those are rude, nor are they lies (especially the last one!) I actually use a very similar response for my children, “My kids get very sick if they eat wheat or dairy so I try and keep them away from it.”…No more explanation needed. I find that the people that truly care for you will want you to be healthy and would never want you to get sick, especially at their party!

3. Focus on something else besides the food. This is where having 2 toddlers really comes in handy (so if you want to borrow mine, please let me know). Many times, I really can’t even focus on the food and what’s being served because I need to tend to my children (every parent reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about). But, you may not have kids, or you may be attending this particular party without them. Focus on catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a long time, engage in conversations you don’t have the opportunity to have otherwise, and maybe even get your “groove on” on the dance floor (c’mon, what’s a party without dancing?). Keep your focus on the true goal of the party and that’s to enjoy yourself with family and friends, not to focus on what food is being served or what you should or shouldn’t be eating.

And most importantly, I want you to NOT beat yourself up if the party just doesn’t go the way you wanted. Maybe you had one too many cocktails, maybe the brownies were just too good to say no to, or maybe you just ended up eating every single thing that came in your direction. Leave that party behind you and move on. Today is another day and another opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. One party will not make or break your weight loss goals or your health.

The most important thing you can do is see it as one night or just one party, and not as a reason to let all of your healthy efforts go to the way side. I know this time of year can pose some challenges, so arm yourself with the tools above and remember that this season is about happiness, joy and the togetherness of family and friends.

In health and happiness,

 

 

 

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Lessons Learned From Wealthy Investors

saving-money-how-to-get-richLearning and developing the characteristics of wealthy people is a great way to start fostering your own financial independence and success. Most people who amass an abundance of cash and resources, do so because they have the right personality traits and lifestyle habits. Their ability to remain steadfast in their pursuit of goals and to save what they possess, allows them to enjoy richer, fuller and more stable lives. Following are 3 characteristics of wealthy investors that anyone can pursue.

Investors  Are Optimists

Of the different characteristics that wealthy people possess, contentment is likely the most important. Although many people believe that money brings happiness, in reality, the opposite is actually true. If you can maintain an upbeat state of mind, you will start becoming more aggressive and proactive in your wealth-building endeavors. Those who are perpetually depressed and downtrodden are often too beaten down to even try.

Able To Avoid Impulse Buys

The typical consumerism mentality does not apply to those who are rich. This is because they do not have as many emotional associations with spending. Buying new products is not directly associated with their happiness and thus, they can commit to purchases from a very realistic and balanced mindset.

Conversely, people who are constantly searching for happiness in things are more prone to buying items that they really don’t need or won’t use. For this and other reasons, in order to start generating real wealth and hanging onto it, you will first have to learn how to define the source of your happiness differently. If you can achieve a positive mindset and feelings of contentment without spending, it will be much easier to invest and save.

Perseverance

Wealthy people get where they are because they are willing and able to persevere. In spite of the unfortunate and all too common belief that rich people have it easier, negative developments and events are inevitable for every living being. The ability to rise above these things and to make changes wherever possible, is how people are able to take their proverbial lemons and turn them into lemonade.

Getting Out of Financial Rat Race

Sometimes it seems like you are racing on a treadmill when it comes to paying your debts, you are always trying to pay up your debts with a lot of difficulties but you never get them over you. Getting out of the race may not be as easy as many would think, it requires one to have some skills to be able to pay up the debts easily and live a stress free life.

Here are several  tips from wise investors:

1. You may hide your credit card so as to avoid adding new debts every now and then. You may be in need for your credit card in case of emergency but let it not be as near as being in your wallet. This prompts you to use it in matters that don’t really matter. It will be safer if you leave it in a desk at home or even keep it in a huge block of ice so as to avoid accessing it easily. The point here is that you should avoid having it close to you as this may tempt you to use it.

2. Learn to pay your bills in order of their interest rates. This is recommendable as it reduces the burden that you will have in time to come hence making life easier for you.

3. Ensure that you even pay the smallest balance on every bill and more towards the one with the highest interest rate. This aids in avoiding late fees.

4. Follow up your spending habits within a week and get to know where you use more money on. Each and every one of us buys food but you don’t have to eat each and every day anyway! On tracing your spending habits you will be surprised how it’s possible to cut down on some expenses that are not very necessary.

5. Get rid of the unnecessary expenses and use the saved cash to pay up your bills. Instead of hanging out for a movie, get a free one from the library and so forth. You will be surprised how things will start getting easy on you.

6. You may now pay the next debt after you are through with one with the highest rate. Eliminate your debts one by one and within some short while you will be out of the rat race!

Michael Hastings is passionate about saving, investment and business. He is also a savvy investor who works for Nick Scali, a furniture company.

 

 

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How to Keep Electronics Safe when Moving

How to Keep Electronics Safe when Moving

When you are moving there are a lot of things which are delicate and need to be paid special attention. These are usually valuable or easily breakable things. However, they can sometimes be things like electronics. One is for sure- do not cut corners on them because it will cost you thousands of dollars in the end. Going for the cheap we usually end up paying load of money because of damages. For this reason you should do your best when it comes to the safety of your computers, printers, etc. Here are some tips you could use.

Firstly find the original boxes of your electronics. Ideally, you will have kept them and will use them for they are indeed the best solution since are specially made for this or that equipment. If you do not have them with you, you can always purchase special boxes for your electronics from your removals company. And do not worry if you are using the DIY method because you can still buy the boxes from any relocation firm without hiring its services.

A very important thing you should not forget is all the wires. Carefully remove them before the moving itself. Since there are usually a lot of cables and wires and the mess is almost inevitable try to avoid it by sorting them. Roll each cable or wire separately. After that you can put every two or three of them in a bag and properly label them. It is best actually if you write on a piece of paper a little note about where each one belongs to.

Now here comes the tricky part. What turns out to be a common mistake is loading CDs, DVDs, and floppy discs on a truck. You should know about them that they are very sensitive. If you put them in a place with too high or low temperatures, they will probably get damaged. That is why, just to be sure, take them with you in your vehicle.

As for packing, packing peanuts and popcorn can be really good for most items but not for electronics. They can seriously harm them. So, when it comes to your electronics use soft cloths, moving blankets and pads.

Electronics can be small and easily portable but some are really big and heavy. If you do not have the help of professional movers it can be very challenging for an amateur. And yet there is something which can ease your DIY method, namely a dolly. Using a dolly you will not have to actually lift anything heavy except to put it on the dolly. From then on it will do all the work, all you have to do is roll and control it. It is very useful when there are stairs on your way.

No matter how cautious you are there still might be parts which have shifted during the move. For this reason be careful when unpacking the boxes containing your electronics. Plus, remember not to open them immediately but to leave them for a while to adjust to the temperature of the room they are in now.

This guest post has been submitted by: http://removalcompanylondon.com/

 

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The Last Time (grab a box of Kleenex)

 

 

by Devon Corneal

Tonight, Little Dude asked for a snuggle before bed. It was well past his bedtime and I was tired, cranky and had a stack of laundry to fold, a memo to write and a blog post to finish. I told him I’d snuggle for two minutes.

He crawled under his blanket, squirmed until he was comfortable and pushed me to the edge of the mattress. He offered me his favorite blankie to keep me warm. I put my arm around him and he was sound asleep before I had finished cataloguing the list of things I had to do before I could crawl into my own bed. I considered making a stealthy escape but stopped when he threw his arm around my neck while mumbling unintelligibly. A sleeping 4-year old’s arm has as much strength as a soggy piece of toast, but I didn’t move. Despite my earlier desire to leave, I stayed and pulled him toward me.

I had one of those rare blissful parenting moments when everything else fades away and you appreciate the simple physical presence of your child. I marveled at the amount of heat a small boy produces when he sleeps and the ease with which he leaves the world behind. I smelled his hair. The laundry could wait.

It hit me in the darkness of his cluttered room that these days are numbered. Some night in the future, Little Dude will ask me to snuggle with him before he falls asleep, and I will have no idea that it will be the last time. I won’t know to pay attention or to try to commit every minute to memory. Days or weeks or months later, I will try to recall when that last snuggle happened. I won’t be able to. I know I will ache to slide next to him on his narrow bed, listen to him breathe and wait for the moment when he surrenders to his dreams. All of the irritations, the inconveniences and the wishing for time alone will seem insignificant in comparison to the warmth and peace of his nighttime routine. I will regret the times I hurried through bedtime and left his room even though he asked me to stay “Just one more minute, Mommy.”

It will be too late.

I just now understand that in anticipating my son’s “firsts,” I’ve forgotten to appreciate what he’s left behind. The firsts are monumental, celebrated and captured on film. I reveled in Little Dude’s first steps, jotted down his first words and am prepared to save lost teeth. There isn’t a first I haven’t recorded in some way. I’ve paid less attention to his “lasts.” I’ve ignored the finality that comes with moving from one stage to another.

I don’t remember the last day that Little Dude’s eyes were blue before they turned green. I can’t recall the last time his hair was baby soft and curly, or the last time he crawled or took a real nap. I can’t pinpoint the last time we shared the peaceful quiet of a 3 a.m. feeding, or he squealed with joy to be riding his wooden rocking horse. There will be a hundred last times to come. And I won’t know they’ve passed until there is no hope of recapturing them. I know this because I don’t remember the last day he used a pacifier or waited for us to get him from his bed rather than clomping into our bedroom at some ungodly pre-dawn hour exuberant and ready to face the day as we struggle to open our eyes. I’ve forgotten when he stopped liking sweet potatoes or saying “Pick mine up!”

Not that there aren’t stages I’m happy are gone. I don’t miss teething, two-hour feedings, biting or needing to be carried everywhere. I’m neither Pollyanna nor a masochist. Babies are darling; I’m also glad I don’t have one anymore. Raising children isn’t all warm snuggles and charming memories. Parenting can be a long, hard slog.

But for today I’m focusing on the last times still to come, even though I won’t know that they’re the last chapters until long after they’ve gone. The last snuggle. The last time Little Dude asks me to bring him chocolate milk. The last time we play fire trucks. The last time he falls down and comes crying to me with his entire body shaking, tears streaming down his face, believing with childish certainty that a kiss from me will make his skinned knee better. The last time he asks to marry me. The last time he believes in my omniscience. The last time we color together at the kitchen table. I’m not naïve enough to believe that this moment of reflection will stop me from becoming irritated, impatient, frustrated, bored or upset tomorrow when my son whines, spills spaghetti sauce on the rug or throws a fit because I won’t let him stay up late. Maybe, though, I’ll temper my response if I can remember how fleeting this all is. That for every moment I’ve prayed would end, there is something I miss.

 

 

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3 Simple Marketing Ideas You Need to Start Doing For Your Business

One thing I’ve never heard anyone complain about is having too many sales. Now, your business can certainly grow more quickly than you expected, and you may have to find ways to scale it and keep up, but in all actuality, who isn’t looking to boost sales a bit?

There are some things that you can do right this very moment that can help increase your brand awareness, and pull customers in from sources that you otherwise may not have.

Here are 3 simple ideas that you can implement into your marketing plan immediately:

1. Start using coupon sites. This is a strategy that I started awhile back, after I started inserting coupon codes on some of the standard business promotion sites, like Manta and Merchant Circle, offering discounts on orders at my website. When I saw the codes being used by my customers quite frequently, I decided to see where else I could place coupons for my company.

Do a search for coupon sites in your favorite search engine, and start visiting these pages. Some of them have quirky hoops that you need to jump through in order to get a coupon listed, but many of them allow just about anyone to add a coupon for any store, both online and offline. Some of my favorites that I have seen some good return on, and were easy to submit my coupon codes to, are 247coupon.com, hotfrog, retailmenot.com, and coupon chief.

2. Start Pinning on Pinterest. Ok, so this is a simple marketing strategy that you should be using if your particular niche is catered to women. Pinterest is an image-sharing platform that has taken social media by storm. 90% of its users are female.

Create a pin board, using product images and other interesting content, in hopes that it will go viral. Infographics, which are a hot marketing tool, are great for pushing out on Pinterest.

3. Start “thanking” your customers. Well, you should be doing this literally all the time. However, do you ever make that extra effort to wow your customers?

Show them how much you appreciate their business, and surprise them with complimentary items when they place a big order with you. Also be sure to take care of the customers that have been loyal to you for a long time. They may place smaller orders, but the fact that they have consistently done so for a few years, certainly deserves recognition with a small token of your appreciation. Sending a “thank you” note, along with a gift card for gas, movies, coffee or books, in their order or out-of-the-blue, will go a long way with a customer.

Gestures like this will be remembered by them when it comes time to reorder, and one of your competitors is offering a better price. Many consumers will go with a business they feel comfortable with, and who they know will treat them well, even if it means paying a few dollars more. It can also help to smooth things over a bit if/when there may be a customer service problem in the future.

I know there are many other things that go into a marketing plan, but start implementing these tactics, and I guarantee you’ll start attracting more buyers.

John Ehlenbeck is a small business owner, and contributing writer for Aprimo Marketing Automation Software.

 

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