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Sunday, June 29, 2014


Food for Thought : June is Men's Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month. The purpose of this federal campaign is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage detection and treatment of disease among males. Men die at higher rates than women from the Top 10 causes of death and are the victims of more than 92 percent of workplace deaths. Men are less likely to seek preventative care and, therefore, may miss vital screenings and health education. Here are a few tips to help you or the man in your life take some positive steps:
1 .      Men tend to gain weight around their mid-section, putting them at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and dementia. If your waist measures more than 40 inches, it’s time to shed some pounds.
2 .      Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up a meat-and-potatoes diet. When planning a healthy menu, consider moderation and variety. A registered dietitian can help you plan your meals that include all of your favorite foods.
3 .       Men should get at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day.
4 .       Men typically have more muscle and larger size than women, so they require more daily calories. However, energy needs also depend on weight, activity level, height and age, so check with your doctor or dietitian for a personalized recommendation.
Words of Wisdom :
Powerful positive words can make such a difference to your day. They empower and re-awaken your soul, setting you free from burdens enabling you to to begin the change you may be seeking.

And remember to make time for fun. Take some time out to watch a funny movie, giggle and laugh with friends, catch up and swap funny stories with the mates....whatever lightens your load.

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love!

What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of  life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be
enthusiastic about.

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Brain Sludge

Have you ever wondered why phonetic isn't spelled the way it sounds? Sure you have. The English language makes no sense. For example, why do 'fat chance' and 'slim chance' mean the same thing?
And this is confusing;'cleave' means both split apart and stick together? If 'Mnemonics' are memory aids, how come I can never remember how to spell it ? Ridiculous, that a TV is called a 'set' but you only get one. It also annoys me that if you deliver something by 'car', it's a 'shipment' but if it's transported by 'ship' it's 'cargo'. Why does the word monosyllabic contain five syllables?
 If pro is the opposite of con, then progress should be the opposite of congress? Hahaha! Now that one makes sense. I could go on  about the English language, and I generally do, but I have far more important things to grouse about.

Like Driving
Here's a pet peeve of mine, if you can't drink and drive, why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor, and why are there parking lots at bars? And speaking of driving, why is there braille on the keypad of drive-through ATM machines. Also, how does the guy who drives the snowplow get to work in the mornings, huh? You see what I mean? Do they have reserved parking for non-handicapped people at the Special Olympics? I noticed something really weird recently; when people are driving along looking for street names, they turn the volume down on the radio. I just don't get it. Well that's enough about driving.

Scientific Sludge
Here's a few scientific things to ponder: When you over-dose on Gravol, how do you induce vomiting? Supposedly, nothing ever sticks to Teflon,so how do they make Teflon stick to the pan? If someone invented instant water, I wonder what they would mix it with. What was the best thing before sliced bread? Should there even be an expiry date on my sour cream? What amazing force in the universe pops up the next Kleenex? How do you know when it's time to tune your bagpipes? When you dial wrong numbers, they are never come? It doesn't make sense to me that kamikaze pilots wear helmets...doesn't that defeat the purpose?  If you yelled at your plants instead of talking to them I wonder if they would still grow, but be very troubled and insecure.
Can you tell me what they pack Styrofoam in?  Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together? And finally...have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

And what about animals ? What about them ?
After eating, do amphibians have to wait one hour before getting out of the water...Hmmm? What do sheep count when they can't get to sleep? Also, I have noticed that sheep do not shrink when it rains.
 How do they get a deer to cross at that yellow road sign? If you put a chameleon in a mirrored box what color would it change to? What should you do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

The Human Element
Before the light bulb was invented, did a candle light up over peoples heads when they had an idea?
Why is it, whether you sit up or sit down, the result is the same? Does anyone know why men have nipples ?  If you spin an Oriental person around and around, does he become disorientated? Just before someone gets nervous, I wonder if they have cocoons in their stomach? If the cops arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent? If you ate pasta and antipasti, would you still be hungry? If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do they all drown? When a man is standing in the middle of the forest talking and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong? It makes no sense that cemeteries raised  their burial costs and blamed it on the cost of living. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done? I think I just did that.

Brain sludge is all that useless trivia that builds up in the bottom of your brain along with all the dumb questions you would like to ask but don't. I feel a lot more clear headed now. Have a good night.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy
I am a man in my late 20s , and most of my friends are getting married and starting their lives . Meanwhile, I am still single . I always envisioned myself being married by now, so I feel a little disappointed . It's hard seeing my friends getting married and having a lifetime partner when I feel so alone . Furthermore, I'm scared that I'm going to feel even more isolated because the married couples will only socialize with one another . How do I enjoy this period in my friends lives and move forward at my own pace .
Moving Behind

Dear Moving Behind,
I understand your disappointment. In a way, you answered your own question, "move forward at my own pace." You have become static; you are not moving in any direction. It is up to you to change your situation by changing your focus.
You have lost your common ground with your friends. Their priorities and goals have changed and yours have not. Don't give up on your friends, they will always be there for you and you will still find time for them. But now you have to look after yourself. You need to find people who are at the same place in life that you are.
Go where you can meet and make friends with people who are single. Join a health club and start working out or take up a hobby . You could travel more and meet people that way. In short, do things and go places that keep you busy.

Your friends cannot change to accommodate you, now that they are married. And you cannot marry just to be part of their group. Please believe they still care for you and they will certainly respect you for living your life to the fullest. And one day, you and your friends will, once more, travel the same road with the same destination, but certainly not before you are ready.

Dear Maxy ,
Please print my pet peeve . I am  a senior  citizen and dislike  the terms  used  by waitresses ,waiters  and other serving  the public . I fee that I'm being patronized  when they call me "Sweetie,"  "Honey,"  "Darlin',"  "Angel," etc . These words want me to decrease  my tip .
"May I take  your order , please?" is  all that is necessary . If you  know my name use it .
Dear  B.
There  are some folks that like  these terms of endearment , but I agree  that they can seem patronizing .

No server  wants to insult  you . If you don't like  such terms, please  speak up , politely and  tell the server, "I'd appreciate  it if  you didn't  call me  "honey" etc.

Dear Maxy,
I have a bone to pick with pedestrians . I can't tell you how many times I have began  to walk up  a  flight of stairs  only to discover that someone is walking down  the side I am  walking up . As  a child , I learned  that you walk  up on  the right  side  and  down on the  left . Is that still the proper  way to use  stairs ? And when you are on an escalator  or  one of those  moving  walkways  in airports , aren't you supposed  to go to the right  if you are moving  slowly  or want to stand  still  and let fast movers  go on  the left ? Please tell  me that this  is true  and that I'm not  crazy .
Up The Stairs
Dear up the Stairs,
The  standard in America  is that  whether  you are walking  up or  down  a flight of stairs , your  right hand  should be  able to  hold onto  the handrail on your  right .  As you are walking  down a  flight of  stairs, for example, if someone is walking up  the same  flight of stairs, that person  should be passing  you on your  left  and therefore, not causing a collision .

It is true  that if you want  to pass  someone  on a staircase, whether it is moving or not, you pass on the  left, just as one does in a vehicle .

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Food for Thought : Louisiana Fast Facts and Trivia

1.        The world famous "Mardi Gras" is celebrated in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is an ancient custom that originated in southern Europe. It celebrates food and fun just before the 40 days of Lent: a Catholic time of prayer and sacrifice.
2 .        The Battle of New Orleans, which made Andrew Jackson a national hero, was fought two weeks after the War of 1812 had ended and more than a month before the news of the war's end had reached Louisiana.
3.        Louisiana was named in honor of King Louis XIV.
4 .       Baton Rouge hosted the 1983 Special Olympics International Summer Games at LSU.
5.        Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States; the building is 450 feet tall with 34 floors.
6 .       Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.
7 .       Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians who were driven out of Canada in the 1700s because they wouldn't pledge allegiance to the King of England.
8 .       The Superdome in New Orleans is the worlds largest steel-constructed room unobstructed by posts. Height: 273 feet (82.3 meters), Diameter of Dome: 680 feet (210 meters), Area of Roof: 9.7 acres, Interior Space: 125,000,000 cubic feet, Total floor footage: 269,000 sq. ft. (82,342 sq. meters), Electrical Wiring: 400 miles (640 kilometers).
9 .       Metairie is home to the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain causeway. The causeway connects Metairie with St. Tammany Parish on the North Shore. The causeway is 24 miles long.
10 .       Louisiana is the only state that still refers to the Napoleonic Code in its state law.
11 .       Since 1835 the New Orleans & Carrolliton Line is the oldest street railway line still in operation.
12 .       Saint Martin Parish is home to the world's largest freshwater river basin, the Atchafalaya Basin; the basin provides nearly every type of outdoor recreational activity imaginable.
13 .        Breaux Bridge is known as the "Crawfish Capital of the World".
14 .       The first American army to have African American officers was the confederate Louisiana Native Guards. The Corps d'Afrique at Port Hudson was sworn into service on September 27, 1862.
15 .       In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.
16 .       The Saint Charles streetcar line in New Orleans and the San Francisco, California cable cars are the nation's only mobile national monuments
17 .       Jennings is called the "Garden Spot of Louisiana" for it's rich and productive farmland. Jennings sobriquet {nickname} became a "Northern Town on Southern Soil".
18 .       Baton Rouge's flag is a field of crimson representing the great Indian nations that once inhabited the area.
19 .       Money Magazine has rated Terrebonne Parish, in the heart of Cajun Country the best place to live in Louisiana for 3 years in a row.
20 .       In 1718 The French found New Orleans and marked "Cannes Brulee" on maps upriver in the area known today as the City of Kenner. French for "Burnt Canes", Cannes Brulee was a name given by explorers who observed natives burning cane to drive out wild game.
21 .        Between April 17,1862 and May 18, 1864 20 major Civil War battles and engagements were fought on Louisiana soil.
22 .        In 1803 the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory. 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Thirteen states were carved from the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States.
23 .        bayou: \BUY-you\ n. a French name for slow-moving "river."
24 .        Louisiana's first territorial governor, William C.C. Claiborne had great admiration for the awkward bird that inhabited the Gulf Coast region. The pelican, rather than let its young starve, would tear at its own flesh to feed them. The Governor's great respect for the Pelican led him to first use the Pelican symbol on official documents.
25 .       The Catahoula Leopard Dog, often called the Catahoula Hound, is the official state dog.
26 .       The City of Sulphur is the 13th largest city in Louisiana and is named for the chemical and mining industry that helped to establish Calcasieu Parish in the late 1800's.
27 .       The Town of Walker became a municipality under the State's Lawrason Act (136 of 1898) on July 9, 1909 as a village.
28 .        Saint Joseph's Cemetery, the only known United States cemetery facing north-south is in Rayne.
29 .        Incorporated in 1813 under the Lawrason Act, Saint Francisville is the second oldest town in Louisiana.
30 .       The Union Cottonseed Oil Mill of West Monroe was in the planning stages as early as 1883. By 1887, it provided the area with many jobs for the laborers of the area. The Union Oil Mill is the oldest industry in Ouachita Parish.
31 .       French speaking Acadians in the mid-1700s settled the Lafayette Parish region of south Louisiana. The Acadians were joined by another group of settlers called Creoles, descendants of African, West Indian, and European pioneers. At the time of the migration, Louisiana was under Spanish rule and authorities welcomed the new settlers.
32 .        The city of Kaplan is referred to as "The Most Cajun place on earth".
33 .        The town of Jean Lafitte was once a hideaway for pirates.
34 .        Winnsboro, the "Stars and Stripes Capital of Louisiana", is one of the most patriotic cities in America. On Memorial Day, July 4th, Veteran's Day, Labor Day, and other special occasions, approximately 350 American flags fly proudly along highway 15.
35 .        The name "Bogalusa" is derived from the Indian named creek "Bogue Lusa", which flows through the city.
36 .        Frances Parkinson Keyes, one of America's best selling authors, lived in Crowley for more than ten years.
37 .        The golden spike, commemorating the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia "Pansy" Rule. It was the first such spike driven by a woman.
38 .        Jim Bowie, the legendary adventurer and hero of the Battle of the Alamo, lived in Opelousas after moving there from Kentucky. Opelousas is the third oldest city in Louisiana.
39 .       The City of Ponchatoula is the oldest incorporated city in Tangipahoa Parish. Ponchatoula derives its name from the Choctaw Indian language meaning "hair to hang" because of the abundance of Spanish moss on the trees surrounding the area.
40 .        Le Musee de la Ville de Kaplan {The Kaplan Museum} is located in the center of downtown Kaplan. Le Musee at appropriate times has exhibits centered on the seasonal festivals. Mardi Gras, Easter, July 4, Bastille Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
41 .        Rayne is known as the "The Frog Capital of the World".
42 .        Notations on the original plats of survey for the area that is now Ville Platte stated that surveyors had to use pirogues and flat boats to properly do their work.
43 .        Because Covington is in a region referred to as the Ozone Belt, it has long been known for its clean air and water.
44 .        Gueydan is known as the "Duck Capital of America" in recognition of its abundance of waterfowl.
45 .        Mamou bills itself as "The Cajun Music Capital of the World." Mamou musicians, in particular the musicians who have perform at Fred's Lounge have been a major force in expanding the audience for Cajun music far beyond Southwest Louisiana.
46 .        The Harvey Canal Locks near Westwego connect the Mississippi River to the Harvey Canal. Back in the 1800s the locks served as ferries to transport railroad cars from one side of the canal to the other. Workers would then reunite the railroad cars on land. This service may have sparked the name of the town. According to one local folk tale, trainmen would shout "West We Go" as the railroad cars were reconnected and pulled out of the station.
47 .         Church Point boasts the designation "The Buggy Capital of the World". A festival celebrates this designation annually on the first weekend in June.
48 .         The Creole House in French Settlement was built of cypress wood. It is typical of the dwellings built in the late 1800's because cypress was so plentiful in the surrounding swamps.
49 .          Fort Polk was established in 1941 and named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana. On March 12, 1993, Fort Polk officially became the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center.
50 .          Pineville is home to a one of a kind museum called the Old Town Hall Museum. It is the only museum in the entire state of Louisiana dedicated to municipal government.

Thanx to Sandy Kreutter , Karolyn Goss

No words of wisdom this week , decided to share some trivia facts about Louisiana so I could brag a bit . The school districts of Louisiana sent their best five debate teams to Baton Rouge (6th thru 8th grade) . There are 64 districts , 360 teams of 12. I have 2 boys on the 6th grade team from Shreveport . the top 5 teams will go on to Washington D. C. to compete with the other top teams from the other states . The Shreveport team (my team) tied with the Monroe team for 2rd place . Shrevepot team are 6th graders , Monroe team is 8th graders .

I am indeed a very proud Grandpa and on my way to D.C. next month .
Proud Grand-poppa G.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hope for infertile couples...IVF Kit That Fits in a Shoebox


Traditional IVF can prove too expensive for many

Could an IVF kit that fits in a shoebox and some kitchen cupboard essentials provide hope for people who long for children? Infertility is a source of distress the world over, but in many places the terrible stigma attached to childlessness makes it even harder to bear.
The answer could be a pared-down system that can fit inside a shoebox and uses cheap ingredients you might find in a kitchen cupboard. In the past infertility has been neglected in developing countries, partly because of a focus on controlling overpopulation. But experts argue that true reproductive health has to address both sides: family planning for those who want to avoid pregnancy, and fertility treatment for those who long to have children but can't conceive naturally.
Nosiphiwo, from South Africa, had been trying to conceive for years when her husband's family asked her for their lobola back - the bride price they paid when she married their son. She was ostracized by her in-laws for being childless, and felt cut her off from the rest of her community to She says women in her situation sometimes turn to suicide.
"I thought of doing that. Because you don't have any option."
The prohibitive costs of fertility treatment mean that worldwide, most couples cannot afford it - though their desperation can be such that many become destitute trying to pay for it, selling property or going into debt. One of the biggest obstacles is the cost of the complex, sophisticated labs where "in vitro" egg fertilization takes place.

tray of baking soda and a wedge of lemon
The carbon dioxide needed to create the right conditions for the embryo was made using baking soda and citric acid

Belgian obstetrician Dr Willem Ombelet worked in South Africa in the 1980s and saw many cases like Nosiphiwo's. He carried out IVF treatment for those who could afford it. Those who couldn't came to the hospital on other pretexts - but the real reason was their longing for a child.
"They would wait shyly around the corner and ask if there was anything we could do for them."

Back then, the heartbreaking answer was no. But he has campaigned ever since to improve global access to infertility care, co-founding The Walking Egg non-profit organization to raise awareness of fertility in developing countries.
Willem Ombelet in front of art installation
Willem Ombelet teamed up with artist Koen Vanmechelen to raise awareness of infertility in developing countries

Usually this involves a sophisticated laboratory equipped with huge ventilators, complex incubators and a supply of expensive gases. But when Dr Ombelet met the embryologist Jonathan Van Blerkom in 2008 the idea of a cheap, portable lab was born.
Van Blerkom revived a technique he used in the 1980s when transporting cow embryos long distances across Nebraska. By mixing baking soda and citric acid he created his own CO2 periodically adding it to the solution holding the embryos to maintain the optimal CO2 concentration and alkalinity levels.

For humans the technique had to be refined to create a closed system and thus minimize any risk of contamination.
Eight test tubes in a metal block, in pairs connected by plastic tubing 

The test tubes are held inside an aluminium heating block

Precise quantities of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate are mixed in one test tube. The CO2 bubbles this creates are fed via a tube into a second test tube containing a culture medium for the embryo. To maintain the perfect temperature for egg fertilization and embryo development, Van Blerkom tried out various low-tech methods.
"I put the test tubes into a thermos at the right temperature - that worked. I put them in an aluminium heating block, and that worked too. The embryos didn't care if they were in an expensive triple walled incubator or a thermos flask."

Once the atmosphere has stabilized, the egg and then the sperm are injected into the test tube containing the culture medium. The next day this test tube goes under a microscope to see if it contains an embryo - meaning egg fertilization has taken place. If a successful embryo is created, it is transferred from the test tube to the woman's womb after about six days.
This simplified system reduces the whole IVF lab to an aluminium heating block containing one pair of test tubes for each embryo, all inside a shoebox-sized container.


The whole system would be housed in a self-contained incubator in places without access to sterile labs.
For additional safety the human trials of the system have so far been conducted inside a sterile laboratory. The team is developing a self-contained unit to house the system in hospitals or health centres that don't have advanced lab facilities. This would provide heated, sterile air and space to examine the embryo under a microscope. The researchers believe that - because of the closed nature of their system - this unit is not strictly necessary, but will help convince health authorities of the quality of the system.

Trials began in Genk, Belgium in 2012, and so far 17 healthy babies have been born using the system. Dr Ombelet is thrilled with their preliminary results, saying they indicate fertilization and pregnancy rates are similar to expensive IVF methods.
"We have proved that with our system embryo quality is at least as good as with regular IVF."
Geoffrey Trew, a consultant in reproductive medicine and surgery at Hammersmith Hospital in London who is not connected with the research, agrees this is an exciting technique.
"It has been shown to work in a developed country. Now we've got to see how well it is reproduced in the developing world where the conditions are more fickle."

The trials are due to be rolled out in South Africa and the UK later this year, and the team hope that by early next year the system can be tested in the kind of low-resource settings it was designed for.
Each IVF cycle costs less than $272 using this system, not including staff and medication costs, which vary from country to country. But Dr Ombelet says they can decrease the normal price for IVF in any given country by at least 70-80%.
"With very low dose medication schemes we hope to perform IVF in developing countries for less than $680 dollars "
Prof Thinus Kruger and Dr Matseseng are fertility experts from Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.
They already have a special fertility programme that cuts costs by economizing on medication and staffing - Nosiphiwo was one of the many women who was helped to conceive by this program.

Now they want to see how the new system compares to their normal laboratory procedure.
"It's really theoretically amazing," says Professor Kruger. "But we will have to see how patient and scientist friendly this system is. It is a little lab, so you still need the knowledge to handle those small embryos."
Prof Van Blerkom believes that efforts to bring the cost of fertility treatment down would please the IVF pioneer Robert Edwards, whose work led to the birth of the first test tube baby, Louise Brown.( Dr Robert Edwards of Manchester England won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2010 )
"People can make fortunes through IVF. But Bob Edwards was a real believer that IVF should be universal, because he knew the suffering that infertility caused."

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fix Cellulite With Kitchen Items

If we know one thing about cellulite, it's that it doesn't discriminate. It isn't something you get from being overweight. And chances are, if your mom has it, you might, too! No matter what shape you're in, women of all shapes and sizes have complaints about cellulite. We aren't alone here, ladies!
There are many so-called "miracle" potions and products that claim to get rid of cellulite in a snap. And sure, some of them may work for a small amount of time, but they aren't going to instantly make it vanish. We visited Sonya Dakar's Skin Clinic to get the bold truth about cellulite, to find out what it really takes to make it disappear (if it can at all), and to get the recipe for a DIY body wrap to help firm and tone if you need a little help before you get into a bikini. And if you're really in the DIY mood, try this caffeinated body scrub before you apply the wrap. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
My husband  calls me the 'Throw-a-way Queen." I have gotten into hot water  for not asking  before I trashed something . Now I think I've mad a huge mistake .
We was thinking of  moving , so I started cleaning out  storage bins . I threw away two items of my husband's that had been in those  bins for years . Last week his son came over  to help clear out  some things and specifically  asked for  the items I tossed . They  apparently  were of  sentimental value to  him .
I acted  as if  I hadn't a clue  what he was talking  about , but I feel guilty  and ashamed  . This is a burden on my conscience  and I don't know what to do . I don't want to keep lying to him  , but I'm afraid of confessing . What should I do ?
Dear Stepmom ,
Imagine the reaction  from your stepson  when he discovers  that you threw out these two items . I think you can tolerate his  anger  and disappointment . Please tell him . Apologize  profusely .  Say you had  no idea  he would want these things , or you would  have saved them  . Say  that you  are ashamed  for not telling him  sooner . Ask him to forgive you  for  your lapse in judgemrnt . I think once he  gets past  his disappointment  you both  will be able  to put this behind  you .

Dear Maxy ,
My husband was recently laid off from a big  law firm in New York . We have  three children  and I am a stay-at-home-mom .  He is trying to find places that is hiring , but he is not  during  well . One of our children  is off  to college   next year  and we do not  have enough money  to live like we have  been since  we need to pay  for college . It has been very hard on the family  and the  financial tensions  cause  fights . It has been a rough couple  of months  and I do not know  if I can take it . What is the best way to manage  this situation  without ruining  our relationship ?
Dear Stressed ,
Sit down with your husband  to discuss  your  finances and to come up with a plan . Maybe  you will need  to get a job . Perhaps  your college  bound child will need to get financial aid . Be practical . If you can address  them as a team , you create  space  for respect  and support  through  what will likely  be an agonizing  period  for quite  some time .

Dear Maxy ,
My daughter  just confronted  me about  wanting  to go on birth control  so she can have sex with her  boyfriend .
They are seniors in high school . I think that they are too young  , but I don't want  her to go behind my back  and go unprotected .
I feel  that by  giving in  and letting her get the birth control  , I am letting  her have sex  when I really are  not OK with it . What is the best way to approach this  situation ?
Scared  Mom
Dear Scared Mom ,
This is a very tough challenge  that  many parents  face . On the one hand , you want to reinforce  your  values  ; on the other  , you want to protect  your  daughter  should she decide  to move forward  with  her plan . One  good  thing to note  is that she asked  for your help  in getting  birth control . She did not  have to do  that . She  could have  gone  to a clinic  and gotten them on her own .
So , start  by thanking her  for bringing this topic  up with you  . Tell her  how uncomfortable  it makes  you feel  that she  is making this decision  at this time . Ask her to tell you why  she feels  that the time is now . Why does  she feel ready ? Ask her about  her relationship with her boyfriend . Is it a committed relationship , as much as high school  bond can generally be ? Ask if he has had sex before  , and if  she has . Talk to her  about why  you wish  she would  wait longer . Be specific  without  being  judgmental .
Ultimately , if you  believe  she is  going to have  sex , take her to a gynecologist  who can talk  to her about her  body in more details  and allow her with the birth control.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Common Dreams and What They Mean

We all dream, even if you don't remember them

Psychologist and dreams expert Ian Wallace, relates some common, weird dreams people have, and explains what they really mean. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of your blog hosts but they are very interesting and worth contemplating.
Weird Dream #1 – Celebrity encounter
In this dream, you are really surprised when your favourite celebrity appears and happily starts chatting with you as if you are firm and trusted friends.
Meaning: Celebrities symbolize talent and also represent the power to freely make their own decisions. The personal quality that attracted you to the celebrity is an aspect of your own character that you are beginning to recognize in yourself. The action from this dream is to behave more like a celebrity, by openly displaying your abilities, rather than concealing them. By acknowledging your own talents, you will trust yourself more and become more celebrated for your unique skills.
Weird Dream #2 – Finding an unused room
In this dream, you notice a door in your house that you’re certain wasn’t there before. As you open the door, you find yourself in a room that you had totally forgotten about.
Meaning: Dreaming about finding an unused room in your house indicates that you are opening up to the possibility of stepping into an exciting new opportunity in your day-to-day life. The room often seems familiar as it symbolizes an aspect of your abilities that you really enjoyed expressing in the past. The reason that the room was forgotten about was that you previously felt that you had to close the door on this part of your life and move on from it. The action from this dream is to open yourself back up to your forgotten talents so you can step back into all the possibilities that they might hold.
Weird Dream #3 – Return of an ex-loverIn this dream, you are surprised to find yourself in a passionate encounter with an ex-lover. Although you are excited to be with them again, you also feel quite guilty.
Meaning: When you dream about being in an intimate situation with an ex-lover, events in your current day-to-day life are triggering memories of the characteristics that you most closely associate with your ex. Rather than being mere wish fulfilment, you are using your ex to symbolize that these characteristics are becoming apparent in your waking life again. An ex-lover often appears in a dream to warn you of possibly repeating past relationship patterns with your current partner. The action from this dream is to confidently let go of old behaviours that are no longer of any value to you, so that you can truly be with your chosen partner.
Weird Dream #4 – Visiting your childhood home
In this dream, although you may have left your childhood home some time ago, you find yourself visiting it again. It can often feel as if you are looking for something you left there.
Meaning: Dreaming about visiting your childhood home indicates that you are revisiting some of the fundamental influences that have helped to form your identity. Although you have successfully built on many of these foundational experiences in your day-to-day life, there may be other aspects of your talents that you didn’t have the chance to develop so fully.
When you search through your childhood home, you are usually trying to reconnect with these qualities so that you can develop them now. The action from this dream is to recognize aspects of your potential that you would like to develop further by having the confidence to take the steps that you need.

Dreaming of alien abduction

Weird Dream #5 – Abducted by aliens
Dreaming about being abducted by aliens often begins with a sudden realization that the normal people around you are actually alien life forms in very convincing human disguises.
Meaning: When you dream that you have been abducted by aliens, it suggests that you are experiencing some unusual situations in your day-to-day life that might seem quite unfamiliar and alien to you. Being abducted indicates that you have no real control over this and feel that you are being forced to follow the wishes of other people.
This can often happen when you move into a new and unfamiliar social circle or place of work, and it can seem like a completely different world to the one you are used to. The action from this dream is to use this opportunity to learn new skills and find out more about yourself.
Weird Dream #6 – Wild animal in the garden
In this dream, you are out in your garden when a wild animal breaks cover and chases after you. Even though you make it to the safety of your house, the animal continually tries to follow you inside.
Meaning: Dreaming about an animal chasing you in your garden indicates that you are thinking about how you control your instinctive impulses in waking life. Your house symbolizes yourself and the garden represents the close friends and relationships that you cultivate in your social circle. The wild animal reflects the instinctive and impulsive part of you, which you often try and contain in social settings.
You may be concerned that you can’t fully control these instincts and this may result in some embarrassing situations for you. The action from this dream is to become more acquainted with your instincts and this will help your social life to healthily bloom.
Weird Dream 7 – Dressed in the wrong clothes
In this dream, you are out in a public place, when you suddenly realize that you are dressed in the wrong clothes. Parts of your outfit may seem normal but the rest is completely inappropriate.
Meaning: When you dream that you are wearing the wrong clothes in a public situation, it suggests that you are reflecting on how your behaviours may appear to other people in your day-to-day life. Your clothes symbolize the image of yourself that you choose to present to the people around you.
Feeling that you are wearing the wrong clothes indicates that there may be a mismatch between who you feel you really are and who you are trying to appear to be. The action from this dream is just to display your individuality rather than trying to conform to the expectations of other people.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Are Our KIds Living More in the Digital World Than the Real One ?

Boy with hundreds of digital images going around his head

Lily and Archie using tablets
Do they think they spend too much time on their devices? Definitely not.

Many kids these days live in the digital world as much as they live in the real one. Whether they are chatting to their friends on Xbox Live or FaceTime or viewing their profiles on Instagram, these days it seems that there is always a virtual guest in the house.
Their expectations of life are fundamentally different to ours at their ages -. They were among the first generation to swipe a dumb screen and wonder why nothing happened; the first to say when a toy was broken: "Don't worry, we can just download a new one"; and the first to be aware that the real world runs seamlessly into the digital one.
These digital natives understand the etiquette of the digital world - how to text, how to email, how to get wi-fi and how to watch whatever they want, whenever they want. And homework is a whole lot easier now that they have the virtual font of all knowledge at the their fingertips - Google.

As the author of the book Growing Up Digital, Don Tapscott has spent a lot of time looking at how the generation born in the age of computing will differ from those who came before.
"Generation M [mobile] are growing up bathed in bits," he says. "Their brains are actually different."
For him, the way the brain is wired is dictated by how you spend your time.
"My generation grew up watching TV - we were passive recipients. Today children come home and turn on their mobile devices, they are listening to MP3s, chatting to their friends, playing video games - managing all these things at the same time."

All the data our children are creating and uploading, coupled with their casual ability to bring their friends into the house via a tablet screen, makes parents question whether they are growing up in a world where privacy just won't mean anything.

At a time when our lives are recorded and analyzed by countless services, organizations and the state, educating young people about the importance of privacy and considering what information they share should be high on the agenda. Our children are creating a very large digital footprint, but will they have more control over data than us?
We are seeing the first cases of people being forced to hand over social media passwords before they are offered employment, cyberbullying has become a clear issue, and stories about commercial companies and the government snooping on our communications are now commonplace. It is imperative that we teach our children about how our communications are now accessed and the ramifications that that may bring.

Mr Tapscott is not convinced.
"The idea that privacy is dead is deeply unfounded but the way we protect privacy is going through a fundamental change," he says. "Kids are quite aware of the whole privacy question and intuitively understand idea of using data responsibly."
That resonates with me - I can barely take a picture these days without one of my children or grandchildren asking suspiciously: "Are you going to post it on Facebook?"
"Actually they are scrutinizers," said Mr Tapscott. "When I was young if I saw a picture, it was just a photo, these days kids look at pictures and ask whether it has been photoshopped."

As for data privacy, there is evidence that companies are beginning to understand that individuals want to wrest back control of what could be their greatest asset, their data. Companies are now developing apps and dashboards that allow people to store all the information that they share online in one place. Some think eventually we will even sell our data as a commodity to advertisers.  Meanwhile, the amount of control individuals have over the information that exists online about them is being challenged.

Last month a European court pushed through so-called right-to-be-forgotten legislation, ordering Google to remove links to sites with information about an individual's financial history that was deemed out-of-date. Such rules may be welcomed by our children as they seek to wipe out the profiles they created when they were teenagers to replace them with a more sober, grown-up digital CV.
And there could be a lot of data to wipe - according to the Pew Internet Centre, up to half of US children have a mobile phone by the time they are six and increasingly parents are creating email accounts and social media profiles for their new-born babies.
Anecdotal evidence suggests many parents these days are more likely to buy their toddler a tablet than a cuddly toy.

Having such an early interaction with technology has led to a glut of studies questioning whether our children spend too much time immersed in the addictive digital world and too little time crossing roads, playing in mud and chasing butterflies.

Boy using a tablet, lent against a tree 
Can we get the balance right between life online and life outdoors?

A lot of it comes down to sensible parenting, thinks Mr Tapscott.
"Parents need to make choices. Say no devices at dinner, in restaurants. Draw up a social contract about when technology can be used," he says.
He is not a fan of the trend towards net filters, where ISPs around the world, increasingly offer parents the option to block out pornography.
"The best way to deal with pornography is not to prevent access but talk to our kids about it," he insists.

The really important question for the optimists such as Mr Tapscott is how schools deal with our tech-savvy youngsters.
"For the first time in history, children are an authority on something really important - how the digital world is changing our institutions."
He is not convinced schools have understood the enormity of that change:
"Children don't learn the way we learnt, but the classroom hasn't changed since the industrial revolution."
While there are plenty of schools doing innovative stuff with technology, there is also evidence that many teachers remain scared of its potential. Just this month, a group of teachers called for government guidelines on the amount of time children should spend on net-connected devices. Director Mark Langhammer said: "We're hearing reports of very young children who are arriving into school quite unable to concentrate or socialize properly because they're spending so much time on digital games or social media."

But far from restricting access, Mr Tapscott thinks we need to stop seeing online as bad and offline as good.
"There is a lot of cynicism about net addiction, losing social skills, being an army of narcissists only interested in Facebook and selfies. I found that none of that is true".
"They are the smartest generation ever."

How do you feel about this generation of techno-kids? Do you feel that spending hours a day in the digital world is good, but only within certain parameters? Do you think we should let our kids have unlimited access because it may be their way of life in the future. Maybe you just hate the whole  subject....dang new-fangled gadgets. Who needs 'em? Dagnabbit!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summertime Broccoli Salad

Creamy Broccoli Salad


  • 2 strips low-sodium bacon
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 1/2 cups broccoli florets (about 1 pound), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seeds


Cook the bacon in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, and reserve 1 teaspoon drippings for the dressing. Finely chop the bacon strips and reserve.
Combine 1 cup water, the ice cubes and onions in a small bowl. Let the onions soak for 10 minutes while preparing the rest of the salad, and then drain and pat dry.
Whisk the buttermilk, sour cream, lemon zest and juice, reserved bacon drippings, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Add the broccoli, onions and golden raisins to the dressing. Toss well, cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
Before serving, toss well and season with additional salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the chopped bacon and sunflower seeds.

Summer Fruit Crostatas.....Delicious

Summer Fruit Crostata


  • For the pastry (makes 2 crostatas)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water
  • For the filling (makes 1 crostata):
  • 1 pound firm ripe peaches, peeled
  • 1/2 pound firm ripe black plums, unpeeled
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • For the pastry:


For the pastry:

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully!) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you only need 1 disk of dough The other disk of dough can be frozen.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet.

For the filling:

Cut the peaches and plums in wedges and place them in a bowl with the blueberries. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice. Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
Combine the 1/4 cup flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts to hold together. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. So good, maybe you should double the recipe. ENJOY!

Sewing Kit-in-a-Jar.......Cute Little Gift

sewing kit

A sewing kit is a perfect gift for a wanna-be seamstress. Everyone who sews—from novice on— will appreciate a pincushion-topped canning jar that’s filled with tools that make hand and machine sewing easier.

sewing kit
  • Glass canning jar with a two-part lid (a pint size jar is shown)
  • 5"-diameter circle print fabric
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Heavy-duty glue

Assemble the Sewing Kit:

sewing kit

1. To make the pincushion, cover a metal canning lid with fiberfill and the 5" diameter circle. Push the covered lid into a canning ring, and glue the circle raw edges to wrong side of lid.

sewing kit

 2. Fill the pincushion-topped jar with little tools and treasures for hand and/or machine sewing. We fit hand and machine needles, embroidery scissors, a chalk marker, water-soluble marking pen, seam ripper, embroidery floss, a long and flexible measuring tape, extra machine bobbins, spools of thread, needle threaders, safety pins, and a box of straight pins into this pint jar.
What else would you add to a sewing kit-in-a-jar?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Food for Thought : June is National Tea Month

Many of us reach for a glass of tea to quench our thirst. We have a special fondness for tea in the South, and while most of us drink tea for the flavor, it has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Both black and green teas have been shown to have some health benefits and most of those benefits are related to tea’s role in heart health. June is National Tea Month, so it is a perfect time to try some new brewing blends. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy more tea this month:
1 . Opt for natural sweeteners such as honey and fruit.
2 . Read the nutrition label if you are buying a commercially prepared tea. Many times they are full of added sugars and unwanted calories.
3. Look for tea that has a variety of flavors blended together.
4 . Many times tea has less caffeine than brewed coffee. However, you may want to look for decaffeinated varieties, especially if you are consuming tea in the evening hours. If you are pregnant, nursing or monitoring your caffeine intake for health reasons, consult your doctor before consuming.
5 . Be mindful that many herbal teas can interfere with medications and complicate certain medical conditions. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Words of Wisdom

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions."

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.

Pay no attention to those who talk behind your back! It simply means you are two steps ahead!

The secret of happiness is not doing the things that you like but liking the things that you do.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Birthday President George H.W. Bush....Who Celebrated by Sky Diving

President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday with a parachute jump. Here are a few tidbits you may have forgotten, or never knew, about America's 41st president.


President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday by jumping out of a helicopter near his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Fulfilling a vow he made five years ago, Bush  made a tandem parachute jump from 6,000 feet with a retired member of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott.
The pair floated to a gentle landing near Kennebunkport’s St. Ann’s Episcopal Church under a silk canopy of red, white, and blue. Mr. Bush, who now has little use of his legs, pitched forward upon hitting the ground. But he was unhurt and smiling afterward, according to Elliott.
“That’s what he wanted for his 90th birthday, and that’s what he got,” said Elliott, according to the Associated Press. “It’s a very good feeling to be involved and be able to turn back time. He’s probably feeling younger now than ever.”
 Bush’s jump was kept secret until the last minute, in part to give him the flexibility to back out. But he’s well known for his birthday sky diving, as he parachuted on his 75th, 80th, and 85th. The public also knows his penchant for colorful socks – a habit he’s shown off since using a wheelchair.
He was a very young Navy aviator. Bush enlisted in the Navy in 1942 on his 18th birthday, shortly after graduation from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He’d been inspired to be a military pilot by the attack on Pearl Harbor. After 10 months of training, he was commissioned as an ensign on June 9, 1943, several days before his 19th birthday. At the time, he was the youngest flier in the service.
Bush flew 58 combat missions, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. His unit suffered a 50 percent pilot casualty rate during its operations in the Pacific. Famously, the future president was shot down by antiaircraft fire on Sept. 2, 1944, after attacking Japanese installations on the island of Chi Chi Jima, and he was rescued by the sub USS Finback. It’s less well known that Bush had previously made a forced water landing after returning from a mission in the Marianas, so he crashed twice during the war.
Nixon boosted his career. Bush’s rise in politics might be said to be entwined with that of fellow World War II Navy vet Richard Nixon. In 1970, Bush gave up his safe House seat at the president's behest to run a Senate race against a Democrat who was a fierce Nixon foe. Bush lost, but earned Nixon’s gratitude. The president initially wanted Bush for a White House staff job, but Bush gave an impassioned plea to be ambassador to the United Nations, swaying Nixon’ decision. President Ford made him ambassador to China and later , director of the Central intelligence Agency.
He wrote emotional letters to his kids. As vice president under Ronald Regan and as president himself, Bush’s public persona was of reticence  But he wasn’t always that way on paper. Occasionally he would write a collective letter to his five living children that revealed more.
For instance, on Dec. 31, 1990, he addressed his children as he faced the prospect of ordering US forces to oust Iraq from Kuwait in the Gulf War.
“I guess what I want you to know as a father is this: Every human life is precious. When the question is asked ‘How many lives are you willing to sacrifice’ – it tears at my heart,” Bush wrote.
The Berlin Wall fell on his watch. While the Soviet Union began to totter under predecessor Reagan and finally dissolved at the beginning of successor Bill Clinton’s time in office, it was Bush 41 who presided over the most dramatic moments of the crumbling of the Soviet empire. The Berlin Wall came down during his presidency, for instance, in November 1989.
Though he initially reacted cautiously, Bush quickly came to see that reunification of Germany was in the best interests of the Germans themselves and NATO, and he pushed reluctant allies to ride with fast-moving events. In the end, Germany remained within the Western alliance and the Soviet Union accepted reunification.
“I was thinking of you as a friend,” he told West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in a phone call on Feb. 13, 1990. “It must have been an emotional moment for you. The German people certainly want to be together.”

He may not have written more than a paragraph or two in history but centuries from now...if he is remembered at all, I hope he is remembered kindly.

Prince George is Now Walking

 According to his Mom, George is walking by himself now. A bit unsteady but not bad for 11 months
Way to go George

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
Last weekend ,my friends and I went  to a party while visiting  college . Since we are only juniors  in high school, we have never been to this type of party  and were nervous . Once we got there, we were confronted by a group of  guys . I do not  drink myself, so I felt uncomfortable  when they asked to get us drinks . I was peer-pressured  into having  this mixed drink  that was being served  and I do not  really remember  the rest of the night . My friends  told me the next morning  that these guys  had slipped  something  into my drink, which caused me to black out . I am very upset about this  . My friends said they didn't allow  the guys  to take advantage, but still, I am  upset with them . How do I address the fact that I am thankful, but still disappointed .
Dear Distraught  Friend ,
You have every reason  to be upset . This is a very dangerous situation that could have turned  out much worse . Rather than  scolding your  friends, you  need to review your own personal checklist of things you will and will not  do . Among them is the most  difficult ... not succumbing to peer pressure . Call yourself the designated driver  when you go  to parties  and choose not to drink, even if you aren't  driving . Do not ever drink punch at a party . Do not have your friends or anyone else get a drink for  you . Make it  your  policy  to see the origin  of the  drink . That will help  to reduce  the chances  of such folly in the future .

Dear Maxy ,
I recently lost my job at a public relations  firm, I have found  another  job, but it  does not pay as much . I'm used  to being able to splurge and buy the newest fashions, but my new salary does not afford  me that luxury . I know  they're  just material objects but I miss being  able  to go to  the store  and buy  whatever I want . How can I tailor  my spending  to my new  salary  while  still be able  to indulge  myself once in a while  ? Moreover, is indulging  even financially responsible ?
Cutting  Costs
Dear Cutting  Costs,
Life's twists and turns  require you  to shift  along  with them . Your key  question  is what stands  out . Is indulging  responsible ? No . Sure, every now  and then  treating yourself  to something  special  can be nice . But first, you should have a budget  worked out  that includes  all your  bills  and a healthy allotment  for saving  short-term  and for your retirement . You are never too young  to put money  away . That's way  smarter  than "throwing it away" on clothes  or other things .

Dear Maxy,
A young female member  of my family  has gotten fat and I asked her  the reason  for the change . Now she won't  speak to me . Everyone says I made  a mistake, because no one should ever ask a woman why she is obese . I care  about this  young woman  and that is why  I put the question to her . I don't want her  to grow as big  as  another  member of  my family,  that's all .
Concerned Old Man in West Hills
Dear  Concerned ,
It is rude  to ask anyone why they are fat . What exactly  do you  expect them to say ? You may  have  meant well, but your approach  was  insensitive . People  who  are obese  are  quite  aware  of the fact . I suggest  you apologize  and say  you are simply  worried about her . Then change the  subject .

Starbucks's Secret Menu Revealed!....Frappuccinos

Starbucks's secret menu has legions of loyalists, and it's no surprise why: it's fun to order off-menu, but, these spins on Starbucks's classic drinks are awesome. Learn how to make three of our favorite Starbucks-inspired Frappuccinos, including Ingrid Nilsen's  Cinnamon Toast Crunch-studded spin on the Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino.

Adapted from Starbucks Secret Menu

Cotton Candy Frappuccino:


1/2 cup ice
3/4 cup milk
1-2 scoops vanilla bean ice cream
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1-2 pumps raspberry syrup
Also whipped cream


Add everything except whipped cream to a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a 16-ounce pint glass, and garnish with whipped cream.  Yield 1 shake 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Frappuccino


1/2 cup ice
3/4 cup milk
1-2 scoops vanilla bean ice cream
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1-2 pumps mocha syrup
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
And don't forget the whipped cream
And if you like, a drizzle of caramel syrup

Add everything except whipped cream to a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a 16-ounce pint glass, and garnish with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips. Yield 1 shake

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Frappuccino


1/2 cup ice
3/4 cup milk
1-2 scoops vanilla bean ice cream
1/2 tablspoons sugar
1-2 pumps cinnamon dolce syrup
1/4 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, divided
And of course, whipped cream


 Add everything except whipped cream and half the cereal to a blender, and blend until smooth. Crumble the remaining cereal. Pour into a 16-ounce pint glass, and garnish with whipped cream and the remaining cereal. Yield 1 Shake
Great summer drinks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Men in Short Suits ?.....OMG!

There’s nothing better than a man in a good suit. A well-cut, good quality suit (or hey, even just a blazer) will stand the test of time and can add a touch of class and style to an otherwise frumpy outfit.
But we need to talk about something, men. We need to talk about a terrifying trend that's been popping up everywhere: the short suit.

Photos courtesy J. Crew.Photos courtesy J. Crew.
That’s right. In possibly the worst men's workwear trend since dress pant sweatpants, retailers are trying to make this Frankenstein creation a thing.

“It’s definitely having a moment, particularly with younger guys,” J. Hilburn’s creative director Jon Patrick tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
We get it. With temperatures (finally) on the rise, wearing full-length pants isn’t so alluring. But please, don’t give in to the lure of the short suit.

Topman's take on the suit-with-shorts trend. (Photo courtesy Topman)
Topman's take on the suit-with-shorts trend. (Photo courtesy Topman)

Retailers like Asos, Topman and J. Crew are just a few already selling the ensembles this summer.
"We have wanted to make a suit short for a long time but knew it had to be just right for it to look good," reads the product description for a $548 shorts-and-suit jacket combination on J. Crew’s website. "We would like to finally introduce you to the Ludlow short. It has an old-school country club vibe (more 'Gatsby,' less 'Caddyshack') and is almost guaranteed to win the battle for best-dressed at nearly every summer occasion."
While J. Crew calls the short suit the “perfect suiting choice for steamy days at the office,” we’re not so sure. While the suit could maybe work in a more casual work environment, it doesn’t seem right to walk into a major client meeting looking like the bottom half of you just came from the beach.
Similarly, U.K. brand Reiss recommends combining the short suit with a black crew-neck, suede driving shoes and a pair of aviators for a “smart and informal” look. Does anyone wearing a suit really want to look informal? Guys, It's awful and you look silly.