Tips to Enhance Your Jogging Stroller Workout

jogging-stroller

Running can be challenging enough on its own, but add in a 50-pound jogging stroller and an unpredictable infant and you could be in for quite an experience! Jogging strollers can be a true boon in helping you get back to pre-pregnancy size and weight, but don’t dive in head first. You should know a few things about working out with a baby jogger, and you’ll find it definitely gets easier over time.

Before my daughter was even born, I bought myself a BOB Revolution SE since I love to run, I’m a former high school and college cross country athlete, and I’ve been itching to do a couple of 5k races each year. Plus, I wanted to hasten my journey to getting back in shape after baby. I picked out the BOB jogging stroller for its awesome reviews and the rugged construction. I also liked that I could get it in orange, my husband’s favorite color and one of mine, and I loved that it seemed like a good fit for our needs. The basket underneath is plenty big enough for my phone, keys, water bottle, and numerous things for the baby. I also feel the hood provides ample shade and protection from the elements, a little drizzle here and some serious sun there.

bob-revolution-seStill, when I first took the jogger out a couple of months after having my daughter, I think I surprised myself with how challenging it was on the first use. My upper body really felt it, plus, it was weird running without my arms. I’ve noticed a few things in the nine months or so since then, which seem to help my jogging stroller runs along a little better. Not only that, but the better I do with the jogger, the better my times and runs are without it. I’ve even taken my dog along for 3-mile jaunts with the jogging stroller around my neighborhood. It takes more coordination than I usually feel comes naturally, but she enjoys it and the baby does, too, so it’s worth it to me. Of course, I have a very well-behaved dog. I wouldn’t recommend running with a jogging stroller and just any dog. You’ve got to remember all the squirrels and other dogs out there, causing enough distraction to derail your whole operation!

So, without further ado, here are my favorite tips for running with the jogging stroller:

· Plan your runs around your baby’s schedule. Ensure she’s fed and changed and comfortable. You’ll get more running time before she gets fussy in most cases.

· If your baby will sleep in the jogger, you can also time your runs a little before naptime so she gets to enjoy the fresh air, but also doesn’t interrupt your run when she’s ready for bed.

· Keep some of your baby’s favorite snacks and a few toys in the basket below in case you need a distraction.

  • Take advantage of a pacifier clip to ensure your little one doesn’t lose the paci (nuk, binky, pacifier, etc.). These things are well worth their weight in gold!

· If your baby starts to get really fussy and you aren’t on a loop that allows you to turn back early, try singing one of his or her favorite songs. It is challenging to run and sing, especially on mile 3.5 of a 4-mile run, but it’s worked for me on several occasions.

· Even though you can’t use your arms as you would without a jogging stroller, you can still alternate arms as you jog around your neighborhood or favorite trail. Hold the stroller’s handle with one arm and pump the other a few times, then switch. I noticed my friend and personal trainer Jessica Rapp of Unique Physique for Life doing this when we went running together as she gave me a break from the stroller. I tried it a few times later and noticed an immediate and unmistakable improvement in my overall time and my mile pace.

As always, ensure your infant is properly dressed for the weather and that you’ve applied sunscreen to keep his or her skin safe. Avoid crossing busy intersections or running along highways and other busy roads. You can never be too careful, especially with the rate of people texting while driving despite common sense.

Remember to always put your child’s safety first, above and beyond all else. As your little one grows, he or she may enjoy your runs more and more, and you may even find that your son or daughter wants to run with you after outgrowing the stroller!

 

Incrediwear Diabetic Socks, Incredisocks PRO-3 sport socks, and Incredi-Femme Socks Review

Incrediwear Socks ReviewWhether for warmth and comfort or function, socks come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. You can find great socks for working out and truly comfortable socks for lounging around. Some socks have a medical purpose or benefit while others are purely for fashion or to keep your feet warm inside your shoes. Incrediwear offers a wide variety of socks ranging from cozy and supportive diabetic socks to top performance athletic socks and everything in between.

I received three pairs of Incredi-socks to check out for the purpose of this review – athletic socks, diabetic socks, and fashion boot socks. Each pair of socks had its own benefits. I especially love the Incredisocks PRO-3 thin sport socks, as I am a runner and also spend some time working out doing strength training and other exercises. The Incrediwear athletic socks felt great on my feet from the moment I put them on. I noticed they immediately fit to my foot as if I had no socks on at all, a great feature that makes you feel lighter on your toes and ready to work out! I also noticed they did a great job with moisture-wicking properties, keeping my feet dry during my workouts. I am going to have to invest in some new athletic socks after trying these – it will be hard to go back to old cotton socks! (Even if they are Adidas.)

The Incredisocks PRO-3 thin athletic socks work hard to increase circulation, regulate body temperature, and wick away moisture. They feature ANOIN technology, which essentially means that negatively charged atoms absorbed by the body help to increase circulation and “molecular vibration.” Basically, these socks are made of a unique blend of bamboo carbonized charcoal, allowing them to set free some therapeutic anions while increasing the blood flow and speed up to 17%, according to studies.

In my humble opinion, these socks are a fabulous addition to any workout wardrobe! Product literature also reveals that Incredisocks can also reduce swelling, speed up recovery time, decrease fatigue, and improve range of motion, among other benefits.

Diabetic socks offer special support and protection for diabetes patients’ feet, but they also bring a nice list of other benefits. The Incredisocks Diabetic Crew sock is helpful in regulating temperature and encouraging greater blood flow to the desired area. These diabetic socks are superb at compression and they have a nice texture that is comfortable to the skin.

These socks are nice and long, offering great compression for the feet through the ankles and partially up the leg. The marbled appearance of the socks themselves is pleasant. The socks have just the right amount of give to stretch and conform to the foot, ankle, and leg.

I received one pair of the diabetic socks in a grayish green hue with a tan stripe and one pair of Incredisocks PRO-3 thin sport socks, as well as one pair of Incredi-Femme socks in knee-high length. These charcoal colored socks stretch comfortably to fit the entire leg up to the knee. They are warm and the fabric is ultra soft and comfortable. These are my new go-to boot socks! I also love them for a comfortable sock under jeans or work slacks, which means they can be worn just about any time.

The Incredi-Femme women’s dress socks are also designed so that your feet don’t sweat, smell, swell, or get tired. The close fit of the socks recalls feelings of being cuddled up nice and snug, but the cut and style keep ‘sexy’ in the picture. The weave of the sock is also quite lovely, not to mention tightly knit so that the socks feel like one cohesive piece of fabric. They look a tad bare just around the ankle, but that might just be my pale winter whiteness showing through. These socks are feminine, fashionable, and admittedly, my first pair of socks this tall. I love them! It just goes to show that you don’t know what you don’t know – I might have gone my whole life never enjoying the benefits of knee socks were it not for Incredi-Femme socks. I might just have to increase my collection.

The Incredi-Femme socks retail for between $13.50 and $20, while diabetic socks come in at $24.95 and below-ankle style athletic socks at $13.50. You can learn more about Incredisocks and Incrediwear products at www.incrediwear.com.

Forced Air Heating Systems

Honeywell QuietCare HumidifierThe one thing that busy Americans look forward to after a long day at work, school, or at play in the midst of a cold winter’s day, is getting warm and comfortable at home. A home heating system is one of the most expensive appliance systems in your residence, and depending on where you live, it can essentially be the difference between life and death from cold weather exposure. For the most part, it costs more to install and maintain than any other single appliance in your home and will be responsible for the most electric kilowatt usage in the home.

The concept of circulating heated air to warm our living space seems simple enough, but for the 50’s era, it was cutting edge technology. It inadvertently put the steam radiator system and the traditional wood/coal burning fireplace and stoves into hibernation mode, as sales and installations around the country plummeted. The new HVAC forced air heating systems that were being introduced in early 1950 became extremely popular with new concepts and thermostats to control the amount of heat released. For the first time in home heating history, the temperature in various rooms could be separately and accurately adjusted.

Honeywell QuietCare HumidifierAs with most things that are discovered to have the potential to change our lives for the better, we sometimes rush things and don’t truly understand the possible effects on our personal health until time passes and the potential hazards are realized. From the get go, an issue with the needless circulation of micro-orbs and other irritants, allergens, and even carcinogens existed, with the potential to cause many airborne diseases. Pathogens that are believed to possess Legionnaires disease (mainly in the Eastern US), and some airborne and potentially dangerous carcinogens can become trapped within the filtration and circulation of the heat from the air handler, exacerbating breathing problems. People with (COPD) Asthma, Bronchitis, and Emphysema, and other chronic respiratory problems, as well as children, are exceptionally vulnerable to the “dirty” air that is circulated and in some cases recirculated throughout your home. The importance of a filter that could trap the irritants was evident and filter technology advanced.

HVAC systems contain a return air duct system to return the air that is previously heated through the filtration to the air handler for recirculation. Hypoallergenic filters can reduce but won’t eliminate most of the dust and allergens. The possible health issues don’t end with the potential for breathing difficulties, as a number of skin and eye issues directly relate to the heating system in our homes and offices. The Center for Disease Control estimates that nine out of ten cases of contact dermatitis are directly related to heating and air conditioning pollutants exposed to the patient. It is said that we spend at least 21 hours a day indoors in heating and air conditioning controlled environments. It is wreaking havoc on the respiratory and integumentary systems of literally the entire US population. Air and HEPA filters can improve overall conditions and should be checked, cleaned, or replaced periodically to ensure the proper filtration.

Advancements in the HVAC air quality, helping to improve  the effects on the health of the occupants. Research shows that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are effective in the reduction of certain viruses and mold spores that are known to cause illness and disease. Fresh outside air is healthy to breathe because of the direct effects of UV rays, so the idea is to bring UV rays indoors to help control microorganisms in indoor air. With a UV system installed in your HVAC system, the number of airborne bacteria and viruses that cause colds and other illnesses will be reduced as air is circulated through the system. With most people spending 90% of their time indoors, especially in the winter, it is essential to develop efficient heating systems that are easy on the health of the occupants and energy efficient.

Forced air systems are found throughout residential and commercial dwellings in the US and are going to be around for several years to come. The best bet for anyone that happens to live indoors and use heat to stay warm, is to learn the best option for your particular heating system. Many kinds of filters can reduce the diverse irritants and spores while UV systems kill virus and mold spores. If humidity is a problem for your home, then you may want to look into a humidifying system to add or reduce humidity to the air. Humidity should be kept below 50% indoors to reduce the mold spores that thrive in humid conditions.

The Honeywell Quiet Care Humidifier as well as many other Honeywell humidifiers and air purifiers are can improve your indoor air quality and your health, and they are easy to find on Amazon.com. The key to having good, clean outdoor air indoors is to learn the best way to clean the air conditioning and heating systems that we depend on to protect and keep our families safe and warm.

Aquaphor Products for Adults and Babies to Ward off Winter Skin

Aquaphor Advanced TherapyWhen the weather turns cold, I find myself battling dry skin with the best of them. My poor hands crack and become so sore, probably a result of washing the dishes every day and not applying enough moisturizer. This winter greeted me with especially bad dry skin, leaving my hands dull and even a bit whiter than usual, especially in the creases between fingers. Thankfully, with enough trial and error I have found a few products that really work for me and my dry winter skin!

My former colleague and friend first introduced me to Eucerin Calming Crème Daily Moisturizer, which I’ve loved ever since. This is your basic skin cream that really does seem to hydrate the skin for longer than average. When our daughter was born last year, our friends introduced us to Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy for babies, also from Eucerin. We’ve really enjoyed this product as it seems to have an almost-instant effect on tiny scratches and other irritations. A little bit really goes a long way, and the product smoothes on effortlessly, moisturizing and bringing the skin relief.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment can treat diaper rash, minor cuts, scrapes, burns, chapped or cracked skin and lips, chafed skin, and also protects from the winter’s harsh drying conditions. This baby healing ointment contains Petrolatum, mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, and bisabolol. A 3 oz. container will last you nearly an eternity unless you douse your entire baby in this special restoring cream.

Lip Repair + ProtectI received a generous shipment of two of these baby healing ointments from Aquaphor, along with baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo, and of course, two grown-up Aquaphor products for me to enjoy. I am thrilled to share that Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy (for adults) also offers great benefits to adult skin. As I mentioned, my hands become extremely dry this time of year. I have recently begun using the healing ointment to treat the dry patches and even a few cracked skin spots. The ointment instantly coats my skin and brings me relief from the dry winter conditions.

I find that I have a bit of a personal aversion to the texture of petrolatum-based products, so I actually follow up my application of the healing ointment with the previously mentioned Eucerin Calming Crème. It adds a nice dose of moisture to my entire hands while the rich and emollient Aquaphor Healing Ointment cares for my dry spots and cracked skin. In my experience with winter skin, I find that the rich, emollient products containing petrolatum, urea, and similar ingredients tend to have the biggest impact on healing and hydrating the skin. I know not everyone minds the waxy texture, so the product in and of itself is perfect! I honestly think I just like for my hands to soak up as much lotion as possible, so applying both really works well for me.

I can’t recommend this healing ointment enough, and if you need an everyday lotion, I highly recommend the Calming Crème as well. I bought mine at CVS, but you can get a bottle of these products at your favorite pharmacy, superstore, or online at Amazon and similar retailers.

I also received a tube of Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect and for me it is love at first application. This lip treatment goes on creamy and smooth, quickly protecting and repairing any cracks, chapped areas, and dry spots on your lips. I love how the feeling lasts, too. It isn’t like standard lip balm products where you have to reapply every five minutes to feel it is working. This lip treatment and repair cream offers immediate relief and I can only imagine it would be my go-to product for sunburned lips or windburn as well. This lip repair cream is designed for severely dry lips and it’s easy to see why, from your very first time using it.

While I don’t think there’s a real taste, it has a pleasant, neutral presence on the lips. Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect also contains broad spectrum SPF 30, to protect you whether you are at the beach or on the ski slopes. Make sure to apply it 15 minutes before sun exposure for best results, and also reapply every two hours or after swimming or perspiring. This lip treatment is fragrance free and designed for sensitive skin. I look forward to a winter (and spring, and summer, and fall…) of more comfortable, kissable lips, thanks to this rich and hydrating repair cream from Aquaphor.

If you liked these products, stay tuned for another review featuring Aquaphor’s baby shampoo!

 

Extra Cheese- If You Please

Cheese tray Our long love affair with cheese in America dates back to the days of Christopher Columbus and the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620 near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Even though the pilgrims brought no cows initially, milk and cheese became important staples in the colonists’ diet. Goats and buffalo provided the milk and therefore, the cheese, until cows were shipped from England, sometime later. It is believed by historians that goat and buffalo cheese was presented to the Native Americans during the first Thanksgiving celebration. The actual creation of cheese is unknown but, credible historians believe its existence predates recorded history and its discovery was probably accidental.

Today, cheeses’ nutritional data and fat content are important factors to keep in mind when choosing the right cheese to purchase for your family. Cheese, as we know, is high in fat, sodium, and dreaded calories. But, the cheese nutritional value is believed to be more beneficial to the body when it is moderately consumed as part of a healthy diet, rather than removing cheese from your diet all together. Most cheese on the market today contains Zinc, Vitamins A and B12, Phosphorous, and Calcium in abundant concentrations, making it vital to a healthy diet. Currently, 54 countries produce 606 types of cheese with many different textures and colors presenting a wide variety of flavors. The pickiest palate can find a flavor as well as the nutrition that he or she needs to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cheese wheel Cheese has long been accused of playing a major role in the obesity epidemic in America. When reviewing the published nutritional facts for cheese, it is apparent that the high fat content, calories, and the amazing flavor of cheese, could easily lead us to over indulge on our favorite. But, not all cheeses are bad when trying to control your weight. If high fat content and calories are your concern, you can find several options that will treat you to an amazing cheese without the increased fat and calories. Many types of cheese are also offered in a low fat, low sodium variety. Cottage cheese is naturally the lowest in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, while cream cheese, among others, contains an amazingly high fat content. Knowing the difference can be important when trying to win the battle of the bulge.

Cheese, along with milk and yogurt, provides a unique combination of nutrients that, studies show, offers many health benefits; helping develop strong bones in the young and actually helping improve bone health for the aging population. Calcium fights the onset of osteoporosis and helps reduce high blood pressure when consumed in moderation.

Cheddar cheese is perhaps the most versatile and common cheese in the world. Created in England, its wide range of sharp, smooth flavor has helped cheddar become the most purchased and consumed cheese in the world. A little higher in calories and sodium but yet, its richness in vital nutrients makes this cheese beneficial to a healthy diet.

American cheese is actually a “processed” cheese made from a milk, milk fats, solids, and whey protein. It was initially made from a mixture of cheeses, more often than not Colby and Cheddar (which are American created cheeses as well). Since blended cheeses are no longer used in its production, American “cheese” is now pasteurized and classified a processed cheese food. Instead of the word “cheese”, it is now called “American slices” or “American singles”. Most companies that produce individually wrapped American cheese label the package with individual cheese slice nutrition statistics to clearly show the good and the bad cheese nutrition data compiled by the Office of food safety (FDA). Though criticized for its high fat content, it is still purchased and consumed in large quantities. It contains an abundant amount of our daily required vitamins, calcium, and protein, helping us to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In the United States alone, we consume over 32 pounds of cheese per person annually, slightly increasing yearly. Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, Colby, and Provolone (in that order) remain the favorites and most purchased cheeses in the U.S. with an average personal consumption of 10 pounds of each per year. It’s obvious in America that we continue to say, “extra cheese please”.

 

Losing that Lingering Winter Cough

Feeling better when the cough is stacked against you

Get rid of a dry, persistent, lingering cough!The aggravating, unrelenting common cold can be caused by a variety of viruses and can occur without warning anytime of the year. The onset and spread of the viral illness is more prevalent in the winter months because of the multitude of viruses that are known to thrive in the freezing weather. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of viruses believed to be responsible for the existence and yearly pandemic of the common cold. The symptoms include sore throat, runny nose or sinus congestion, a productive or nonproductive cough, and fatigue. A cold and its associated symptoms will usually last 7 -10 days, sometimes with a few lingering symptoms for another week. A cough can last longer, becoming persistent and resistant to the traditional treatments, leaving you feeling almost hopeless in your coughing nightmare.

A cough that brings up mucus is considered productive and shouldn’t be treated with medicine containing a cough suppressant. It is always best to see your primary physician when symptoms persist longer than 21 days. A cough that is dry and causes painful breathing is considered non-productive and should be evaluated by a medical professional. The doctor may suggest or prescribe from a slew of possible medications and treatments for the relentless cough, depending on the suspected cause. Follow all instructions to the letter and take any and all medication he or she prescribes, even if your symptoms subside, to prevent the reccurrence of the cough and cold. The only good news is that, since antibiotics won’t help the cold virus, they aren’t usually prescribed. Since 95% of all colds are viral in nature, the best your doctor can do is to treat the symptoms that are making you miserable.

You can try a few things to relieve the cough and ease the cold at home before it becomes a costly trip to the doctor’s office. Many home remedies are popular and offer inexpensive, safe, natural treatments for the symptoms of the common cough and cold. First and foremost, if you smoke, quit! That one is a no-brainer. If you continue to smoke after the onset of a persistent cough, you will have more problems to look forward in the future than the aggravation of a cough. A multitude of programs and aids can help you stop smoking. Next, avoid the possible causes of the cough, such as smog and air pollution. These irritants exist everywhere and avoiding them is seemingly impossible, so try to limit exposure to these irritants. Also, avoid pet dander, air fresheners, household cleaners, and pollen in flowers and on trees. Try to follow a healthy diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, and skim or fat free dairy products. Avoid the foods that are high in trans-fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.

Drinking warm tea with honey will help break up the mucus of a productive cough and will ease the pain of a sore throat. Also, stay hydrated with water and juices containing high Vitamin C content. Certain foods like garlic, peppermint, onion, and basil make great vapor breathing decongestants. Honey and ginger seem to be a very effective natural cough suppressant. Many other natural ingredients have shown positive effects on the symptoms of the common cold as well as the persistent cough. Experts say that this year’s cold and flu season will be especially nasty. Take the time now to be prepared and the cough won’t be stacked against you.

 

 

DIY Flavored Coffee Drinks

Coffee cupIf you love fancy coffee drinks more than your wallet can allow, consider trying your own hand at a beverage masterpiece. The following recipes are fairly simple and don’t require a limitless budget.

I received samples of Eight O’Clock Coffee for the purpose of this article. Let these recipes inspire you to create new recipes. Play around with the ingredients and swap out extracts and candies with other flavors.

If you’re picky about the sweetness of your coffee, making it yourself alleviates any issues with your drink being too sweet or too bitter. Alter the amounts to your taste buds to find the perfect balance. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite drink!

Eight O’Clock Coffee is available in bags, as well as in K cups designed fro Keurig coffee machines. These recipes are suited for a whole pot of coffee or just a cup. Perfect for however you make your coffee!

Caramel Almond Coffee Drink

CARAMEL ALMOND COFFEE
½ tsp. almond extract per 6 oz. cup
1 rounded Tbsp. ground Eight O’Clock Original or 100% Colombian Coffee per 6 oz. cup
1 Tbsp. caramel syrup per 6 oz. cup
Cream or milk optional

Add almond extract to the bottom of the pot, ½ tsp. for each 6 oz. cup you’ll be brewing. Brew as you normally would. Stir caramel syrup into each cup.

For an individual cup:
Use 1 drop of almond extract. Add the extract and the caramel syrup to the bottom of your cup and stir.

Coconut Coffee

COCONUT COFFEE
½ tsp. coconut extract per 6 oz. cup
1 rounded Tbsp. ground Eight O’Clock Original or 100% Colombian Coffee per 6 oz. cup
Cream, milk and/or sugar optional

Add coconut extract to the bottom of the pot. Brew as you normally would and pour into a cup.

For an individual cup:
Use 1 drop of coconut extract. Add the extract to the bottom of your cup and stir.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Coffee

DARK CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY
2 squares of dark and raspberry chocolate squares
1 drop of orange flavored extract
1 rounded Tbsp. ground Eight O’Clock Original Coffee per 6 oz. cup
Cream or milk optional

Put the chocolate squares and extract in the bottom of each cup. Brew a pot as you normally would and pour into cups. Stir for about a minute, or until the candy has dissolved.

For more recipes click through…


Healthy Flavored Waters: Reviews of ACTIVIATE AND HINT brands

Activate Vitamin WaterWater is an essential part of every health and beauty routine. I always try to keep a full water bottle with me at all times to stay hydrated. Not only is water great for general health, but it can have incredible results for your skin.

Drinking flavorless water day in and day out can become dull. Juices and even some flavored waters often contain a lot of calories, sugar, and other ingredients that can counter the benefits of water. ACTIVATE and Hint waters are two excellent ways to drink water and still experience a wealth of health benefits.

The great thing about these drinks is the opportunity to branch out from your tap or filtered water without going in a potentially unhealthy direction. If you are trying to meet the suggested 8 glasses of water a day, it’s easy to get bored or unmotivated to drink the same bland beverage each day when there are so many potential selections available to you. These brands offer a variety in your beverage choices while counting towards that daily water count.

I received several bottles of ACTIVATE energy water to sample and review. These water drinks are sugar and calorie free in addition to containing a number of vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins can degrade/deteriorate sitting in water, so ACTIVATE keeps them stored in the cap instead of the water.

ACTIVATE vitamin water

It may sound silly, but it’s fun to ‘activate’ the vitamins by twisting the cap and releasing them into the water. After you twist the vitamin cap open, shake the bottle and mix the vitamins into the water.  ACTIVATE also doubles as an easy cocktail mixer that aids in reducing calories in your drinks. If you’re interested in cutting calories when it comes to alcohol, check out my article about low-cal cocktails!

HINT water also features all natural essence water with no calories, sugars, artificial flavors or preservatives. This beverage is closer to tasting like water than ACTIVATE. I’ve tried to create my own fruit or vegetable infused beverages this past summer and learned it’s a bit harder than it looks. This brand has mastered the art of blending subtle tastes of fruit with water into delicious beverages.

HINT is available in ten unique flavors: Watermelon, Blackberry, Pomegranate-Tangerine, Strawberry-Kiwi, Raspberry-Lime, Mango-Grapefruit, Lime, Pear, Honeydew-Hibiscus and Cucumber. I’ve received several of these flavors and am quite fond of the Raspberry-Lime.

HINT waters

HINT even offers the first unsweetened sparkling essence water in stores! You can find HINT Fizz in Blackberry, Watermelon, Strawberry-Kiwi, and Peach. I’m a huge fan of seltzers and mineral waters so the next time I see these in a store I’m gonna snatch up a few to try out for myself! Sparkling water is a much better option than most other fizzy drinks like soda, so when I’m craving a carbonated drink, I’d much rather go for something healthy.

What are some creative ways you’ve found to add more water into your diet?

 

Low-Cal Cocktails

Lo-cal cocktail options!It might sound a bit ironic to call a cocktail healthy, but when certain drinks can pack a nearly 600-calorie punch, you might want to be mindful of low-calorie options. Alcoholic drinks can come with a lot of calories, especially when they are being mixed with other ingredients. What’s the point of a diet if you are going to blow it when you choose your booze?

Now you can have your cocktail and drink it too! Enjoy these low calorie alternatives while enjoying flavor without a ridiculous amount of sugars and unwanted calories!

La Pinta- pomegranate Tequila

I was super-incredibly-lucky to receive La Pinta, a premium pomegranate-flavored tequila, to review. Sorry for the overuse of adjectives, but it’s seriously that good. I shared it with a friend and she agreed too! La Pinta is sweet enough by itself, but also serves well in cocktails.

It’s almost silly to consider other drinks when there’s delicious healthy alternatives. There are a surprising number of brands and recipes striving to offer low-calorie options of alcoholic drinks. La Pinta is a product I highly suggest to any fans of fruit-infused spirits.

La Pinta d’lite

2.5 oz. La Pinta

2 oz. club soda or sparkling water

Approximate Calories: 160

I’ve also received samples of ACTIVATE water, which doubles as a cocktail mixer. These vitamin waters come in colorful and innovative packaging that protects your vitamins in the cap until you are ready to release them into the water and enjoy your beverage. For more info about the product, check out my review of healthy flavored waters. For additional cocktail recipes using ACTIVATE and their reviews, visit my article on Halloween Cocktails.

Exotic Berry Martini

3 oz. Exotic Berry ACTIVATE

1 oz. Premium Vodka

Squeeze fresh lime juice over drink. Garnish with fresh berries.

ACTIVATE Vitamin Water

Bubbly Blueberry POMtini

3 oz. Blueberry Pomegranate ACTIVATE

1 oz. Premium Vodka Top with champagne.

Voli Vodka

Squeeze fresh lime juice over drink. Garnish with fresh berries.

 

Certain brands feature products that are ideal for low calorie drinks. One of these brands is co-owned by singer-songwriter Stacy Ann Ferguson, better known as Fergie. For more information about Voli Light Vodkas, visit their website.

Last year I received Voli Light Vodka to review and am a big fan of it. Voli’s a great tasting vodka made from natural ingredients, and this spirit has about 25-40 percent fewer calories than other leading brands!

Skinny Citrus Crush Cocktail Recipe

For seasonal recipes and LLB reviews that feature Voli cocktails, visit our articles on St. Valentine’s Cocktails and St. Patty’s Cocktails.

Skinny Citrus Crush

1 1/2 oz Voli Lyte (works with Voli Lemon too)

1/2 oz Agave Nectar 2 Lemon wedges

1 Lime wedge Top with soda water

Squeeze lemons and lime and drop in a glass. Add Voli Lyte, Agave and ice. Shake and top with soda water.

Approximate Calories: 105 (110 with Voli Lemon)

Volitio cocktail recipeVolito

1 1/2 oz LYTE or Lemon

1/2 fresh lime

8 mint leaves

1 packet sweetener

Club soda Muddle lime, mint and sweetener. Add Voli, light shake and pour all ingredients in a glass. Top with club soda. Serve in a highball glass. Garnish with mint sprig.

You can even add fruits to this like blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, red berries, and mango.

Approximate Calories: 85

Blushing Berry Cocktail RecipeBlushing Berry

1 1/2 oz Raspberry Cocoa

1/2 oz Raspberry liqueur

Splash of diet cranberry juice

Served over ice and garnish with a raspberry and lime twist.

Approximate Calories: 130

Another popular low-cal brand is Skinnygirl created by Bethenny Frankel. This brand provides diet-friendly options for lovers of not just margaritas, but also vodka, wine, and ready to serve cocktails! For more info, check out the Skinnygirl website.

 

Horseback Riding for Fitness

Horseback Riding for FitnessAs you begin to advance in years it can be helpful in many ways to take up a new hobby. Choosing something physical helps you keep fit and healthy, it adds diversity to your day, and a hobby is often a great way of meeting new people.

Some say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, but actually, it is never too late to learn a new skill, especially when you can have a lot of fun doing so. Horseback riding is among one of the most rewarding activities out there, and anyone of any age can learn.

Learning to ride a horse at a later age can seem a little daunting at first. After all, horses are pretty big animals, and not to mention strong, too. Most riding school horses have been well trained in helping beginners learn to ride, from tiny children to octogenarians.

They are naturally docile creatures and are more likely to ignore any inaccurate commands than to run off. Most riding schools offer lessons in stable management as well as riding. This teaches you how to care for your horse so you can develop more of a bond.

Horseback Ride for FitnessStarting a new hobby can be expensive – paying for lessons, purchasing any gear you might need, and travel costs to and from the stables all add up. Luckily, there are many great sites on the Internet to help you get started for less. For example, Ariat rider wear, which was heavily worn by the equestrians during the Olympics, is a lot cheaper from an online outlet, than at a local hobby store.

When you first begin, there’s really no need to spend a fortune on all the best gear. When you initially start out, you may be able to borrow or rent a lot of things from the riding school. All schools will have a selection of helmets for hire, which may be included in the lesson price.

For beginners, however, it is only recommended that you turn up in comfortable trousers that are not too loose and flapping, and boots with a smooth sole and small heel as these help your foot to grip the stirrup.

Anything more than this is just an added expense and not at all necessary at this stage.

The important thing is to stay fit and healthy while enjoying a new hobby.

Image © Simonkr | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

 

Quickie Chicken Soup When You’re by Yourself or Anytime

Chicken Noodle SoupWhenever I get a cold, I make myself homemade chicken soup. I don’t know what it is about chicken soup, especially homemade chicken soup, but I really find myself feeling better after eating it for a few days. It is probably all in my head, but I say go with whatever works. Here is my recipe for quickie chicken noodle soup when you aren’t feeling well.

Before you get started, be sure you have the following ingredients at home:

-Chicken broth (5 or 6 cans or 2 to 3 big cartons)

-Carrots (I use about a half a bag of baby carrots)

-Celery (I use about 2-3 stalks)

-Small noodles like Ditalini (I use about 2 to 3 cups)

-Chicken breast (at least 2-3 chicken breasts)

-Olive oil (2 tablespoons or so)

-Salt and pepper

Soup potNow onto the fun part! I just kind of wing it for my recipe, so feel free to tweak my steps and amounts to do what works for you.

Follow these steps to make easy chicken noodle soup in about an hour at home:

1.Put some olive oil in a stirfry pan or skillet.

2.Cut up your chicken breast into cubes.

3.Once the oil has warmed up, toss in the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4.Stir the chicken until it is white all the way through.

a.Note: Cooking the chicken this way makes it retain its shape in the soup.

5.While the chicken is cooking, pour the chicken broth into a large pot with a lid and turn it on medium-low. I like to use three big cartons of chicken broth because I plan to eat the soup for days.

6.Dice up the carrots and celery and set aside.

7.When the chicken is done, toss it into the pot with the broth.

8.Sautee the veggies in the pan with the leftover oil or add a bit more if needed.

9.Add the veggies to the broth and chicken.

10.Put the uncooked noodles directly into the pot with the broth, reduce heat, and let the simmer for a while. Keep checking for doneness.

11.When noodles are cooked all the way through, it’s time to enjoy your soup!

This recipe makes a delicious chicken noodle soup every time. If you have other tips for a yummy chicken soup recipe to help you ditch that cold, pleas share your suggestions in our comments below.

 

30-Minute Meals for a Quick Dinner at Home

30-minute meals giveawayMaking dinner can become quite a chore, especially when you are working during the day or if you have a whole family to feed. Quick and easy meals can take away some of the daily stress you might face when it comes to cooking for your family. But, did you know a “quick and easy meal” doesn’t always have to start with hotdogs and end with macaroni and cheese?

In case you haven’t had the pleasure of trying them yet, you should check out my recent review on the McCormick Gourmet seasoning recipe mixes. I found these to be such a great way to make a variety of quick and easy meals at home now that I am trying to juggle life with an infant on top of all my normal routine.

Life Love Beauty recently hosted the McCormick Elevating Everyday Meals contest, where we asked our readers to share their favorite 30-minute meals. We received many great submissions, including the following:

•    Chicken diced and sprinkled with olive oil, parsley flakes and sea salt and pepper
•    Ham steak and then rice or quinoa for a side
•    Tacos
•    Cream of chicken over rice, cornbread, and veggies
•    Hot Southern chili
•    Roast beef hash
•    Grilled sandwiches and soup
•    Sautéed shrimp and rice
•    Steak and onion sandwiches
•    Hamburgers or hotdogs on the grill
•    Spaghetti
•    Stir fry made from leftovers
•    Roast chicken with roast sage potatoes
•    Roast asparagus and tomatoes in broth as a quick soup
•    Garlic and White Wine Chicken Scaloppine
•    Pepper steak
•    French toast and bacon or sausage links
•    OLD BAY Baked Crusted Salmon
•    Baked chicken with rice and cheese
•    Pasta

McCormick Elevating Everyday Meals GiveawayWe are proud to announce the winner of our Elevating Everyday Meals Giveaway – Tim, with his entry: “I like to make what I call cupboard clearing casseroles. I take a random meat that seems to not have any alternate uses, then I just grab stuff from the cupboard (rice, beans, pasta, vegetables, cream of mushroom, etc) and mix it all together, sprinkle some cheese on top and bake it. It rarely turns out poorly, no matter what you put in. One time I even through some Craisins in one and the salty/sweet contrast made it really good.”

If you have any other 30-minute meals (or even quicker ones) that you would like to share, please leave a comment with your tips below.