COMFORT IS BEAUTY

12 Easy Habits to Save the Earth

earth day 4__1458740213_162.206.228.38Tomorrow is Earth Day, a day to celebrate all of the glorious gifts our planet has to offer.  It’s also a time to give back and think about our global impact.  How can we be better at reducing our ecological footprint?  If you’re trying to find ways to be a better environmentally-friendly citizen, check out these 12 easy habits to save the earth:

Take public transportation.  Taking your car off the road saves on gas, oil and emissions.  Each of these has an impact on our land, water and air. Even taking a bus or train just a few times a week can save on resources and reduce pollution in big ways.

Turn off the water.  Leaving water running while brushing teeth or for a long round of dish washing can be wasteful.  Similarly, baths use much more water than a quick shower.  Make a point to use as little water as possible.  Invest in low flow toilets and shower heads that conserve water.  If you are bathing your kids in a tub, have them bathe together.  You and your spouse can also shower together to save water.

Unplug electronics.  Keeping computers, chargers, lamps, appliances and other electronics plugged in constantly pulls a lot of unnecessary electricity.  Unplug items that you aren’t using.

Buy Thrifty.  One gal’s junk is another gal’s treasure. Shopping at thrift stores for you and your family members is a terrific way to reuse consumer products.  Plus, you’ll save money and find unique items.

Subscribe electronically.  Opt in to email newsletters and bill paying to reduce the amount of unnecessary mail you receive.  Not only is snail mail a waste of paper, it is also taxing on the environment to produce and deliver it to you.

Eat less meat.  Raising and feeding cows for meat takes up a lot of land, food and natural resources.  Cows also release a good deal of methane gas that contributes to global emissions.  Skip the red meat and replace it with vegetarian options every now and then for a cleaner, more eco-friendly diet.

Bring your own water bottle and coffee cup.  Rather than popping open a new disposable water bottle every time you need refreshment, refill a washable bottle.  Do the same with your coffee cup.  Some coffee shops will even give you a discount for having your own cup.

Adjust the lights.  Your mother probably told you to turn off the lights you aren’t using and she’s right.  Also, swap out your most frequently used lights for LEDs.  They are more expensive but can last for up to 10 times longer than other light bulbs and they produce less heat reducing the need for air conditioning.

Wash your clothes with cold water and air-dry them.  Heating water to wash clothes takes a ton of energy.  When possible, use cold water.  Also, skip the dryer and let your clothes air dry.  You’ll probably enjoy that fresh breeze natural scent too.

Tune up your car.  When your car doesn’t work efficiently you may be doing more damage than you think.  Maintaining your vehicle will reduce emission pollution, require less gas and keep you driving it for longer.

Wrap creatively.  Skip the wrapping paper and use recycled materials to wrap gifts creatively.  Or simply tie a bow around your present and hand it over letting the recipient know that part of the gift is helping the environment.

Reuse, recycle and donate.  Play your part in saving the earth by reusing as much as possible, recycling what you can and donating any items you no longer need or want.

Happy Earth Day!

The 5 Full Figure Bras Every Woman Should Own

You don’t don the same outfit every day, or do the same activities every day, or see the same people every day.  Therefore, you shouldn’t wear the same bra every day.  This is especially true for full figure bras that have specific comfort, fit and support features for various occasions.

For every shade of you there is a perfect full figure bra pairing.  While we’re all for having a favorite bra, might we suggest having 5 favorite types of bras instead?  Here are the 5 full figure bras every woman should own:

molded_padded_seamless_underwire_full_figure_bra_5028_The “Ready-for-Anything” T-shirt Bra

You’re going from work, to lunch with the girls, to your kid’s soccer game, to dinner with your guy.  Finding the perfect outfit (and shoes!) for that day may be challenging but the perfect bra is a piece of cake.  It’s our Molded Padded Seamless Full Figure Bra that comes in wirefree or underwire options and a multitude of colors.  With lightly padded cups and straps for comfort, flexibility with adjustable straps, 4 hook-and-eye closures in the back, plus an ideal fit, this bra takes you everywhere without missing a beat.  And it will help you keep a smooth and flattering silhouette in whatever it is you decide to wear.

lace_cup_underwire_full_figure_bra_5408_The “Happy to See You” Bra

Dressing up from head-to-toe includes your bra.  So make sure you have a super sexy special occasion bra in your intimates drawer at all times.  Our Lace Cup Underwire Full Figure Bra is just the ticket.  With soft lace cups in a plunging v-cut shape, your breasts will be dressed to the nines like the rest of your body.  But looking this gorgeous doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort and support.  This bra not only looks hot, it feels amazing too.

ultimate_sports_bra_5430_The “Ultimate Fitness” Active Bra

Squeezing in a cycling class, power walk or weight lifting session is hard enough. Don’t let your sports bra hold you back.  Our Ultimate Sports Bra is a full figure woman’s dream come true.  It lightly compresses and supports your breasts to prevent bounce and features weight-dispersing adjustable straps that convert from regular to racerback.  The breathable, sweat-wicking fabric makes it ideal for your light-to-moderate workouts.  Did we mention it looks cute too?  Once you try it, you’ll never hit the gym without this bra again.

wirefree_full_figure_bralette_5403_The “Cross Function Versatile” Bralette

Versatile and comfortable – two very highly-rated qualities in a full figure bra.  You can check off those boxes with our Full Figure Bralette.  The wirefree design is uber comfy and supportive for a variety of outfits and activities.  You may just forget you’re even wearing a bra!  With lace trimming, it doubles as a camisole that can show under blouses and dresses without adding an extra bulky layer.  This winning bra is a multi-tasker, just like you!

cotton_front_closure_leisure_bra_110_The “Lazy Sunday” Leisure Bra

For those days when you never slip out of your pajamas, you’ll need the perfect sleep/leisure bra.  That would be our Cotton Front-Closure Leisure Bra, aka, “The Most Comfortable Bra in America.” This leisure bra is great for sleeping or lounging. Soft cotton fabric, full coverage cups and cute colors and prints will make it your weekend go-to choice.  With front-closing hook-and-eye clasps, this full figure bra is a cinch to take on and off.  Although, you really never need to take it off…it’s just that comfortable.

So, do you have these 5 bras in your intimates drawer?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Click on over to our full figure collection and start shopping!

Skin Care Myths

skincare myths__1458740810_162.206.228.38When it comes to your skin, you probably have some firm beliefs.  But there are many rumors swirling around the beauty-sphere about things that are good or bad for your skin.  Today we’re debunking some common skin care myths to keep you in the know on how to protect your skin and keep it looking vibrant and youthful.

 

 

Myth:  Double SPF in sunscreen means double the protection.

The most effective sunscreen will offer broad spectrum UVA (rays that penetrate deeply and induce a tan) and UVB (rays that cause sunburn, cancer and photoaging) protection.  But SPF 30 is not twice as good at SPF 15.  In reality, there is only a 4% difference.  SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays while SPF 30 blocks 97%.  Dermatologists recommend at least SPF 15 protection daily and sunscreen should be re-applied every 2 hours.

Myth:  The shade completely protects you from UV rays. 

Up to 80% of your ultraviolet radiation exposure is atmospheric.  That means that just walking around – whether you’re in the shade or sun – you are being exposed to harmful rays.  Therefore, sunscreen is always necessary even on cloudy days or days when you’ll be outdoors in a shaded area.

Myth:  Washing your face more often will clear up blemishes.

Washing is important but over-washing can actually damage your skin.  Your skin produces natural oil known as sebum oil that acts as a protective barrier.  Sebum oil shields your face from microbes as well as some UV rays.  So don’t go overboard on scrubbing away your body’s natural defenses.

Myth:  Junk food causes acne.

No studies have clearly indicated that eating junk will make you break-out.  However, some research shows that foods that cause inflammation, including those with refined sugar, can lead to blemishes.  So if you’re going to eat sugary foods, counterbalance them with anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Myth:  Make-up with SPF counts as sunscreen.

You would have to apply over 10 times the normal amount of make-up to qualify as facial sunscreen.  Don’t fall prey to this marketing ploy.  Always wear sunscreen under foundation or powder.

Myth:  You should pop your pimples.

Popping pimples often pushes the bacteria that caused them deeper into skin layers.  This usually results in more pimples in the same general area within a few days.  Avoid popping and picking at blemishes and allow them to dissolve naturally.

Myth:  Expensive anti-aging products work better.

Most anti-aging skin care products contain very similar ingredients, plus or minus a few elements that are part of the latest skin care fad.  Drug store brands often work just as effectively for a fraction of the cost.

Myth: Anti-wrinkle creams permanently remove wrinkles.

In general, anti-wrinkle creams help hydrate skin to fill in fine lines and wrinkles temporarily.  Their perceived effectiveness only lasts as long as you use them and your skin remains hydrated.  Retinol and Vitamin C are two ingredients that have the best track record for reducing signs of aging.

Myth:  Skin aging is completely genetic.

Your lifestyle choices and habits contribute to your skin’s outlook.  Eating anti-oxidants, exercising and not-smoking are all good skin choices. Also, avoid squinting, piercing your lips and sleeping with your face smushed into your pillow to help keep your skin looking its best.

How Gardening is Good for your Health

As the sun emerges from its winter slumber, gardens enthusiastically await springtime toil.  Budding gardens are one of the things that people most look forward too about spring.  Whether you’ve got a green thumb or not, going to work in your garden is a worthwhile activity because gardening is good for your health.  Today we’re exploring several fascinating ways gardening is good for your health.

Gardening is good exercise.  Digging, hoeing, hauling, mowing, planting, weeding, trimming, kneeling and squatting…these are all common movements and positions for gardeners, which makes gardening a wonderful physical activity.  Medical experts recommend being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.  Gardening counts as moderate exercise and can burn between 200 and 400 calories an hour, depending on your level of exertion.

woman gardening__1458692144_162.206.228.38Gardening is helpful for the heart.  Because of the physical activity and peaceful nature of toiling in a garden, gardening can help stabilize blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and prevent health issues associated with being overweight and having high blood pressure.

Gardening strengthens the immune system.  Being outdoors allows you to soak up Vitamin D from the sun, which in turn helps you absorb calcium.  Both Vitamin D and calcium are terrific immune boosters and help your bones stay strong as well.  Also, digging in the dirt offers exposure to harmless bacteria that will ultimately strengthen the immune system.

Gardening is a stress reliever.  After a long day of work or chasing after kids, gardening can help you relax.  Like other stress-reducing leisure activities, gardening diverts your attention to a more passive state.  Also, enjoying nature is soothing and calming to the senses due to the beautiful sights, fragrant smells, peaceful sounds and the warmth of being outdoors.

Gardening is healing and therapeutic.  For some, gardening is almost like meditation.  It can be cathartic and spiritual and can create a Zen-like experience.

Gardening boosts mental health.  Being one with nature gives you a natural high.  It contributes to the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin that induces feelings of joy and pleasure.  This reduces incidence of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.

Gardening has long-term brain benefits.  Studies show that people who spend years gardening as a hobby are over 30% less likely to get dementia as they age.  This may be a combination of the physical and stress relieving benefits, as well as a consistent use of brainpower to focus on creating a delightful garden.

Gardening has great nutritional benefits.  Growing a garden full of fruits, vegetables and herbs will help you eat more healthfully.  Not only will you enjoy the produce from your garden, you will know exactly what is going into your food.  You can avoid unnecessary pesticides and contamination caused by mass-production, storage and transportation of produce.

Gardening gives you a sense of pride.  Creating a stunning garden is a great accomplishment.  It has lasting beauty that you and others can enjoy at least throughout the spring and summer, perhaps even longer depending on the types of plants and flowers you grow.  Every time you look at your garden you will feel proud that you contributed such loveliness to the world.

Whether you have a big yard or a few small window boxes to toil in, make gardening a part of your springtime health regimen.

Burn Calories while Spring Cleaning

As we dig into spring, you may start working on some spring cleaning projects.  If you just rolled your eyes at the thought of collecting dust bunnies and dragging your winter clothes to the attic, here’s a look on the bright side: you can burn calories while spring cleaning!  Seriously!

spring cleaning__1458741056_162.206.228.38Ok, ok, you may not reach the calorie burn you achieve in your 1-hour cycling class but housework can be considered moderate exercise if you do it with some level of intensity.  There are actually some fantastic health benefits to exercising in short 30-minute bursts rather than longer periods.  We’re not saying you should skip the cycling class or your other regular exercise either, but as you’re shaping up for bathing suit season, a few ways to burn calories while spring cleaning isn’t a bad idea.

So just how many calories are we talking about?  Here’s an estimate:

  • General cleaning-up and tidying around the house can burn up to 125 calories an hour.
  • Vacuuming, mopping or sweeping can also burn around 125 calories an hour.
  • Washing and folding the laundry burns about 135 calories an hour.
  • Scrubbing tubs and windows can burn over 160 calories in just one hour.
  • Painting rooms or that old dresser a nice springy-hue can buy you upwards of 150 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Moving furniture from room-to-room can burn around 100 calories in just 15 minutes.  Even more if you’re going up or down stairs.

A terrific way to burn calories while spring cleaning is to add intensity and speed wherever possible.  That means lunging, squatting and stretching during cleaning time, adding vigor to movements, stepping up the pace and even adding more steps to the process.  Here are some tips to maximize the calorie burn while spring cleaning:

  • Place your cleaning bucket far away from the area where you are working so you constantly have to walk back and forth to get supplies.
  • Lunge forward with your legs while mopping, sweeping and vacuuming.
  • Get on your hands and knees to clean the shower and bathtub.
  • Use large arm movements when scrubbing the bathroom, kitchen and windows.
  • Stretch high to reach for things.
  • Use a step ladder for hard-to-reach places and go up-and-down as much as possible.
  • Put on some fast-paced music to energize your spring cleaning and encourage yourself to move faster.
  • Twist your body towards cabinets and drawers when putting away dishes and clothes.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles during all spring cleaning activities.

As you burn calories while spring cleaning, you’re getting a few added benefits too:  a cleaner home, less allergens and a sense of satisfaction.  With these tips to burn calories while spring cleaning, multi-tasking never looked so appealing!  Happy Spring!!

Raincoats and Rain Gear You Need for April

April showers are upon us so all you fashionable gals surely need trendy raincoats and rain gear to “weather” the month.  We’ve got just the stuff to turn that rainy frown into a trendy smile with these fashion tips for raincoats and rain gear.

Raincoats

Staying dry is goal #1 on a rainy day so first make sure you are dressed for success in the right materials.  Waxed or rubberized waterproof fabrics are definitely the way to go to stay dry in the rain.  Be sure your raincoat has quality stitching that won’t let water seep rain gear__1458741206_162.206.228.38through at the edges.  Lighter, ventilated coats will help keep you comfortable if the temperature is warm during rain showers.  Raincoats with adjustable hoods and a small bill are ideal to keep your do done and your makeup looking impeccable.

Our favorite styles of raincoats are those that are on trend and versatile.  After all, how many raincoats do you really need?  Probably just one or two to compliment your wardrobe on a rainy day.  Here are some options that are on point this April:

Trench:  A waterproof trench is sleek, sexy and sophisticated.  Longer lengths keep more of our outfit dry and the buttons and belt will ensure a flattering fit to show off your silhouette.

Windbreaker:  A waterproof windbreaker is super versatile since it can be worn on windy or rainy days.  It’s also lightweight and easy to bring along on those days when rain may be in the forecast for the afternoon.

Poncho:  Simplicity is key when you’re in the rain.  Throwing a poncho over your head is about as simple as it gets.  Plus, it’s breezy and won’t trap in your body heat.

Clear:  Loving your outfit and don’t want to cover it up?  Try a transparent raincoat.  Your awesome outfit can still be seen by the world while you stay dry and protected from the elements.

Spring Prints:  Gloomy days call from some sunshiny attire.  Spring florals, fun prints, metallic designs or outrageous hues can brighten up any rainy day.  A fun raincoat will make you and everyone around you smile, despite the weather.

Other Rain Gear

On particularly stormy and gusty days this April, the weather may call for some additional rain gear including boots, hats and rain bags.  Here are some tips:

Rain Boots:  Sleek slickers are all the rage and can even be worn on non-rainy days.  Tall rain boots will keep your legs dry.  Most rain boots are made with wide openings to allow pants to fit inside.  Once your pant legs are in place, cinch up the strap to keep rain from pouring in your boots.  If your area gets a lot of rain, a neutral rain boot and a playful print are nice to have.  Some every day boots are also waterproof and make a good option for rainy locales.  If you get rain infrequently, just go for the playful slickers since you’ll be wearing it so sporadically.

Rain Hats:  Even if you’re not a hat person, a rain hat is a good idea, especially if your raincoat doesn’t have one attached.  Select a hat with a brim like a bucket hat.  Of course you’ll want it to be waterproof like your raincoat.  But don’t feel you have to be matchy-matchy with your coat and hat.  Mix it up and have fun with your rain hat.

Rain Bag:  Doing a lot of walking in the rain is going to get your bag drenched.  Depending on the fabric of your bag, it may just soak the entire contents or it could ruin your bag completely.  Avoid that inconvenience by getting an oversized rain bag.  You can put your purse or backpack inside your rain bag so you don’t have to transfer the contents.  Simply plop it in when you see the first droplets of rain and you’re good to go!

With these trendy raincoats and rain gear, you may not want the rain to go away!

Full Figure Fashion Report: Spring 2016

spring fashion 2016__1458064290_162.206.228.38 (1)We’re so excited for spring and we hope you are too.  The season’s full figure fashion is as wispy and sweet as the spring wind, and offers beautiful choices to incorporate into your personal style.  This spring the full figure fashion trends are bursting with sunshiny metallic, blooming with floral prints, hoping with texture, and fresh with a feminine flare.  Here is your full figure fashion report for spring 2016:

Full of Flowers:  Floral prints are synonymous with spring but this season it’s getting bigger – literally!  Large, bold floral prints are on trend for the season, especially for dresses.  Feminine florals can be amped up with outrageous colors or simplified with muted pastels.  Whatever your preference, this season, the larger the print, the better.

Slip into Something Comfortable:  If you feel most comfortable in lingerie and lace, you’re in luck this spring.  The bedroom meets the runway as slip dresses become extremely popular.  The light, silky material and sensual lace are an excellent combination as you emerge from your winter attire into the spring sunshine.  Plus, this look pairs nicely with your favorite lace full figure bras.

Dynamic Dimensions:  As a throwback to the 50s, 3-dementional embellishments are hot for spring.  Try embroidered patterns or nature scenes such as birds or leaves.  This look gives any outfit a stylish pop.

Show Off Those Shoulders:  Your shoulders have been hidden under coats and sweaters all winter so let them have some fresh air this spring.  Off the shoulder tops and dresses, cutout shoulders and spaghetti straps will do the trick and allow you to show some skin in a trendy and tasteful way.  This classy look is hitting the streets big time and will keep you cool as the weather warms.

Flirty Frills:  As the breeze dances about this spring, let it ruffle your breezy spring wardrobe.  Flowing dresses and tops with ruffles, flamenco inspired frills or extended pleats will catch the wind for super feminine appeal.  Shear dresses with slits that follow the frilly trend are especially hot.

Bright and Shiny:  Shimmery, shiny metallic colors are reflecting the spring vibes this season.  Sequins, glitter and any other sparkling, glossy or glimmering material that catches your eye is a fabulous spring trend.  Go bold in a full shimmer outfit or keep it subtle with just a dash of glitz.  This look extends to footwear as well so feel free to add a little sparkle to your giddy-up with metallic shoes.

All Wrapped Up:  Wrap-skirts and other bottoms with ties are looking great for spring.  In thinner springtime fabrics, this style adds dimension without being bulky.  Plus, it often gives the opportunity to show off a little leg with a natural slit.  Let the ties hang low, which elongates your legs and gives a dynamic element to your outfit.

Fabulous Flats:  Nothing is better than a few great pairs of easy-to-wear slip on shoes.  In trendy sneakers or casual flats, slip-ons flat footwear can be paired with anything in your spring wardrobe.  Keep things simple with this style day and night.

We know you’ll look amazing in these full figure fashion trends this spring!

What All Women Should Know about Osteoporosis

osteoporosis__1453482115_108.89.137.58If you think you don’t need to worry about Osteoporosis until you are an old woman, think again!  How you care for your bones and entire body when you are younger has a huge impact on your health into your senior years.  All women should know about Osteoporosis, including causes, risk factors and preventative measures to avoid repercussions down the road.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a serious condition that weakens bones by making them porous and more easily susceptible to fractures or breaks.  Bones are made of protein, calcium and collagen.  Much like our cells and muscles, bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding.  This process of renewal occurs steadily throughout youth until around age 35 although bone mass usually reaches its peak sometime in the early 20s.  Bone mass is stored throughout a lifetime.  More stored bone mass means someone is less likely to suffer from Osteoporosis as they age.

Who is at risk for Osteoporosis?

Although Osteoporosis can affect anyone, women are more likely to get it than men, especially white or Asian post-menopausal women.  The onset of Osteoporosis is often linked to a loss of estrogen, which is what occurs to women during menopause, as well as other hormonal imbalances such as thyroid disorders.  Beyond age and gender, Osteoporosis can be genetic and people with smaller body frames have a higher risk.  Additionally, a poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive smoking and alcohol consumption and any medications, surgeries or conditions that block the absorption of nutrients (especially calcium and Vitamin D) or interrupt the natural bone renewal cycle can increase one’s risk of Osteoporosis.

How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?

Because there are usually no early symptoms, Osteoporosis is difficult to diagnose.  Often people don’t realize they have it even if they have suffered a minor fracture.  It’s not until larger breaks or pains occur that the symptoms point to Osteoporosis.  Signs of the condition include a stooped appearance, loss of height, back pain and bones that fracture or break easily.  The hips, wrists, ribs and spine are the most likely bones to be affected by Osteoporosis.

How to prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is not completely preventable since many of the risk factors are beyond our control.  However, there are steps we can take to reduce our personal risk even if we inherently fall into some of the higher risk categories.

First, consuming calcium is essential for strong bones.  Adults under age 50 should have 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily and those over 50 should have an additional 200 milligrams.  Calcium is abundant in dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, as well as fish like sardines, soy products, greens such as kale, collard greens and bok choy and calcium-fortified cereals.  If you can’t consume enough calcium in your diet, consider a supplement.  Vitamin D is also important because it helps the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D can be acquired through diet, supplements and sunlight.

Exercise is important to maintain strong bones.  Strength-building workouts cause muscles to pull on bones and encourage bone rejuvenation, thereby improving the skeletal system.  Also, exercise increases flexibility, balance, stamina and resilience, which reduces the risk of falling or incurring serious injuries.

Risk of Osteoporosis can be reduced by avoiding some bad habits as well.  First, limit alcohol and colas and do not smoke.  Beware of over-exercising and do your best to get the daily recommended values of key nutrients to maintain a well-balanced system.  Also, employ safety practices to avoid falls that could lead to broken bones.

If you are at high risk of Osteoporosis, ask your doctor about getting a bone density screening.  This is one of the only ways to truly measure bone mass to determine whether or not you have the condition and how severe it may be.  Remember, how you treat your body in your youth will catch up to you in your golden years.  Be good to your bones to help prevent Osteoporosis.

Tips for Writing Great Thank You Notes

thank you notes__1455558069_108.89.137.58Ah, the dreaded thank you notes!  Whether you just had a major event – wedding, birth of a child, birthday – or you simply need to thank someone for a kind deed, most people hate writing thank you notes.  It can be tedious, especially when you have many to write, however your thank you notes can really brighten the day of the recipients and even give you an emotional boost as well.

According to Psychology Today, writing thank you notes contributes to feelings of happiness for the sender for up to one month.  That’s pretty amazing!  And just think how great the recipient will feel.  If you struggle with writing thank you notes, we’re sharing a few pointers to make yours memorable, special and, dare we say, enjoyable to read and write.

Tip #1:  Hand write your notes when possible. 

In our age of technology, hand writing anything is somewhat rare.  If life permits, select some lovely stationary and take the time to hand write your thank you notes.  Yes, it takes longer, but it also is more meaningful to the recipients so your effort goes further.  Try to write as neatly as possible.  After all, there is no point in writing something that no one can read.  If your handwriting is atrocious or if you simply don’t have the time, go electronic.  A thank you note is better than no thank you note at all.  Do try to find an online card service that offers a selection of beautiful cards with space to type a personal message.

Tip #2:  Say thanks for the specific gift and how you plan to use it.

Sharing details about why you like the gift and how you’re going to use it makes the recipient feel that they have done a good job in selecting something you really enjoy.  As much as you aren’t sure how to fill the page of your thank you letter, the giver may have been just as uneasy about what to get you as a gift.  For example, if you received candle stick holders, write about how they are the perfect centerpiece for your dining room table or how you can’t wait to use them for an upcoming romantic dinner.  If someone has given you money, don’t reference the amount.  Rather, thank them for their generosity and tell them how you plan to spend it.

Tip #3:  Write thank you notes for acts of kindness, not just gifts.

When you thank people for how they make your life better, they feel wanted and appreciated.  Writing thank you notes to friends for being there for you, teachers for taking amazing care of your kids, and co-workers who go above and beyond their jobs are all highly worthwhile.  In fact, you may improve your relationships with many people in your life when you can express specifically how much and why you are grateful for them.

Tip #4:  Be creative and humorous with your thank you notes.

Thank you notes should be fun to read and write.  Let your personality shine through.  Even formal thank you notes don’t have to be stiff and forced.  For close friends and family, add your personal sarcasm and wit to your notes or reference inside jokes.  Or consider other creative ideas such as sending pictures of you using the gift or a picture of yourself holding a thank you sign.  If you send an electronic card, attach a photo or video.  Add an appropriate quote to your thank you note or send a sweet treat along with the note to show your appreciation.

Tip #5:  A great way to give thanks is to give back.

If someone has done you a favor, be sure to return the favor in the future.  It’s not about keeping score, but more about being a good friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member.  Great relationships can be built on doing nice things for one another.  Also, remember that praising someone to their superiors can boost their career or status in the workplace.  Always take time to send a note to supervisors if you receive excellent customer service.  This good karma will surely pay off in the long run.

Natural Remedies for Heartburn

Most of us have experienced that intense burning in our chests that feels like we may become a fire-breathing dragon at that very moment.  This uncomfortable, often downright painful, condition is heartburn, which is caused by acid reflux.  If you’re in need of relief, you’re in luck.  Today we’re exploring natural remedies for heartburn.

heart burn__1457445259_162.206.228.38So, what is happening in our bodies that make our chests feel like we need to call the fire department?  Acid from the stomach is making its way back up the esophagus causing the burning sensation we know as heartburn.  It’s a result of the lower esophageal sphincter relaxing and “opening the door” for acid to return to the esophagus.  Heartburn is most often triggered by fatty foods, overeating or eating right before lying down.  It can also occur from consuming too much alcohol, acidic foods like citrus fruits, spicy foods and caffeine.  Prolonged heartburn that cannot be relieved with antacids or natural remedies within two weeks may be a sign of GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Next time you feel your chest is on fire, try these natural remedies for heartburn:

Herbs:  Several herbs have shown positive potential to combat heartburn including caraway, chamomile, licorice, milk thistle and ginger root.  Many of these are found in Iberogast, which can be a good natural alterative to over-the-counter antacids.

Milk:  Milk coats the lining of the stomach and has acid-reducing calcium, which can create a temporary buffer for acid reflux.  Be sure to drink low-fat milk and only about one cup at a time to avoid filling up with too many fats.

Almonds:  Eating just three or four almonds after meals can neutralize stomach acids.  Now that’s a tasty and nutritious way to deal with heartburn!

Aloe Vera Juice:  Aloe Vera can do more than soothe a sunburn.  Drinking half a cup of Aloe Vera juice can decrease inflammation in the stomach and esophagus and keep heartburn at bay.

Bananas:  Super ripe bananas reduce stomach acids as a natural antacid.  Try eating one everyday to see if that does the trick.

Apple Cider Vinegar:  Oddly, consuming more acid may help with heartburn.  Sometimes the lower esophageal sphincter loosens because it senses that the stomach doesn’t have acid and therefore it doesn’t need to block acid.  When you introduce acid like that from a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, you are sending the message to this gatekeeper to keep the doors closed.

Gum:  Believe it or not, chewing sugar-free gum can really help relieve heartburn.  Gum creates more saliva which naturally reduces acid.  Plus, it makes you swallow more often and push the acid back down to its proper place in your stomach.

Baking Soda:  Balancing your stomach pH can neutralize acid effectively.  Sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda, works nicely.  Mix one teaspoon with a cup of water several times daily for best results.

Melatonin:  This natural sleep aid is known to relieve heartburn as well.  Be careful to check drug interactions as melatonin should not be taken with certain medications.

Dress for Success:  Don’t wear tight fitting clothes or belts that put pressure on your tummy.  This may encourage acid to return to the esophagus rather than staying put in the stomach.

Eat Right:  Think about what triggers your heartburn and when it occurs. Try to avoid foods that upset your stomach and cause heartbur

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