An article on New York Times.com uncovers the idea that the “Fountain of Youth” may in fact not be a fountain at all. The key to staying young forever may be easy as stepping right out your front door… or back door. The key you ask? Exercise. New research just released from the National Academy of Scientists explains that exercise reduces or eliminates almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice. Yes the studies are new and yes they have only been performed on mice, but these mice were injected with a genetic mutation that accelerated their rate of aging. They separated the mice into two groups: one group of mice were forced to exercise daily for 45 minutes while the other group led a sedentary lifestyle (use your imagination for what this would be for a mouse). After one year the mice who led the sedentary lifestyle were dead, and had been showing effects of aging by 8 months (they were bald and frail), whereas the mice (who possessed the same genetic mutation) who exercised daily were still alive and youthful after a year, showing no effects of aging; they weren’t even graying! There have been many studies that have reinforced the idea that exercise helps slow the course of aging but this was the first study to uncover the fact that exercise, “[affects] every tissue and bodily system studied.” Before scientists thought exercise affected just muscle tissue, brain tissue, skin, and hair. And an added bonus: Exercise reduces stress.

(For more in-depth information on this study click the link above to read the full article.)

So what does this mean? We should all get moving, and now. I am currently writing from Steamboat, Colorado where I am visiting my Uncle on vacation. You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership to begin an exercise routine, it is as easy as getting out daily and going for a walk, and perhaps doing some push-ups and sit-ups. As you feel better you can maybe start running and purchase weights from Target or Wal-Mart and add in strength training. Cardio and strength training are the most important.

If you find walking, running, and lifting weights boring, then get back into a sport you used to play (whether in an intramural league or pick-up games) or find a new sport to learn. My Mom started playing tennis when she was 40, and now she plays 8-10 hours a week and my Dad is still playing soccer in a men’s league. Today we went snow-shoeing for a few hours and not only did we get to spend time outside, in the fresh air, looking at beautiful scenery, we worked out our entire body (I am already sore). My parents were able to buy snow-shoes and poles for each other at Christmas for around $150 (give or take $20) from L.L. Bean. They go out every weekend together to snow-shoe and my Mother will go out on her own during the week. What a great investment for the winter.

The bottom line: Even if you don’t have any money for a gym membership or special exercise equipment you can always go for a run or walk a few times a week and do strength training exercises using your own body as resistance — A small effort can keep you young for a very long time.

 

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

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Today my sister actually took my advice and decided to re-arrange her room. We moved her bed, took out her TV, and organized her storage spaces to make for a more appealing and simplistic look and also to create more space in her room so she wasn’t feeling so cramped. The outcome was amazing (her room looks much bigger) and she said that she definitely felt better after making these changes; her room is more spacious and she now feels she has room to breathe and move around, and she got rid of unnecessary items that were taking up space and adding clutter. (Unfortunately that means that we have more trash to put out tomorrow night.) As I’m writing this she keeps walking by saying, “It’s so much better, it really is…” Here are a few pictures taken with my horrible camera just to show a few examples of what I was posting about a few days ago:

 

We decided to re-arrange after we spent an incredibly relaxing three-day weekend at home. We spent time with family and friends and got outside for a long hike in the woods (yes, even though there was snow on the ground). There is nothing like fresh air.

Well everyone, here is the surprise of the day! The Huffington Post wrote an article reporting the “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011.” These are statistics that are gathered by the World Health Organization every year which list the alcohol consumption stats for every country in the world, including the different types of alcohol each country consumes the most. But guess what… we can feel a little better about ourselves because the United States ranks 57th on the list and that says something. The top 25 nations on the list are pretty random which is what makes this list funny.

The list is as follows:

25. Bulgaria

24. Latvia

23. Finland

22. Germany

21. Luxembourg

20. Austria

19. Slovakia

18. Poland

17. The UK

16. Denmark

15. France

14. Ireland

13. Portugal

12. The Republic of Korea

11. Lithuania

10. Croatia

9. Belarus

8. Slovenia

7. Andorra

6. Ukraine

5. Estonia

4. The Russian Federation

3. Hungary

2. Czech Republic

1. The Republic of Moldova

Surprising isn’t it? The Republic of Moldova is the drunkest country in the world. Who would have known…

For the complete list click here.

Hey Everyone–

I came across this post on Health.com and I love these tips. The slideshow shows you how to turn your bedroom “into a retreat.” Remember: your bedroom should only be for sleeping and after hours fun. Who wants to bring the office into either one of those?

  • Cut The Clutter: Put your books in the bookcase, fold your clothes and put them away, and throw out any item if you can’t remember why you have it or where you got it. If all of your clothes don’t fit into your drawers you can always find a cute wicker basket or patterned boxes to put them in at places like HomeGoods, Marshalls, Pier One, Pottery Barn etc. All your other odds and ends can be stacked up into different size boxes and not only will you be organized but your room will look clean and cute.
  • Bring In Nature: The slideshow says to bring in fresh flowers and plants, but personally as much as I love fresh flowers, most of the time they are more work than they are worth, and if you live in an apartment like I do, they will never see the sun. Instead, I make my own flower arrangements by buying silk flowers from craft places like Michael’s. Real or fake, flowers create a calming effect and that’s what you want in your bedroom.
  • Make It As Comfortable As Possible: Splurge on this one. Get the soft sheets, the furry and soft blankets, and the down comforter and pillows. Another lovely touch is silk or satin pillowcases and sheets. Not only will you feel sexy but you will never want to get out of bed!
  • Bring In Scents That Help You To Relax: Two of the best scents for relaxation are lavender and vanilla. I personally prefer lavender, so either light a candle or a diffuser that emits your favorite scent or you can buy a linen spray from places like The Body Shop and Bath and Body Works. Spray them before you crawl into bed and instantly you will be relaxed.
  • Get Rid of Your TV: I know it sounds like an impossible and ridiculous idea and I’m sure you think I’m a lunatic for even suggesting it but I actually did this and it works. Once I got rid of my TV, it signified that my room was strictly my bedroom and nothing more. Why put a TV in your room when you probably have 3 other sets in your house?
  • Feng Shui Your Room: Put your bed against a solid wall that faces the door and it should also be across the room from a mirror, subconsciously you feel more protected because you are aware of all of your surroundings in your room. Also, try to learn to sleep with the door and the blinds fully closed. This blocks noise, light, and any other distraction, including pets. Your body will not fall into a deep sleep unless your room is completely dark.

You can try all of these or just a few but all of us want a place we can relax and forget the stress of the day, so why shouldn’t that place be your bedroom? And the more relaxing it is, the more refreshing your sleep will be, and I think we can all agree that we need a little more sleep!

I just came across this article by Tara Parker-Pope on New York Times.com and found it hilarious! And since it is Valentine’s Day I assume that I have a duty to re-post it because it is only fitting. The readers of the website SMITH Magazine are posting their own six-word love stories and some are absolutely hysterical. Here are a few funny ones mentioned in the article and on the website (the first is my personal favorite):

Love hurts. Choose vodka or valium.

You lost me at hello “ma’am.”

Life’s like chocolates. Picked, processed, pooped.

Passion, fireworks, good loving. He’s gay.

But our domestic partnership was notarized….

Your new wife is too friendly.

There’s nothing sex can not fix.

Note to self: avoid head cases.

He wasn’t worth the panic attacks.

Chocolate is the coward’s bad apology.

Pet-sitting for ex-husband describes amicable divorce.

Loved her madly — then went mad.

I badly misjudged her inner beauty.

Wine fog, slurred endearments forgotten tomorrow

Two boyfriends: Twice as many arguments.

Here’s the link to SMITH Magazine. There are more than just love statements on the website but I felt these were appropriate for the day. Happy Valentine’s Day and Enjoy!


With all of the demands on us these days we forget to worry about one important thing… ourselves. When it comes right down to it, we sacrifice sleep, food, exercise, etc all in the name of… what, “responsibilities?” Isn’t our biggest responsibility to take care of ourselves? And once we do, it almost always seems like every thing else falls into place and suddenly becomes easier. Once we figure out what we want, and listen to our needs we have a much easier time accomplishing what we want to accomplish. Here are a few simple ways to re-focus your energy back onto yourself and start treating yourself well every day:

  • Pay Attention To Your Own Needs And Wants: Sounds simple enough, yet we rarely do this. Learn to listen to what your body and mind are telling you to do, whether it’s sleep more, eat more, exercise, socialize, or just stay in and watch a movie. The more in-tune you are with what your body and your mind needs, the better you will be at taking care of yourself by eating right, exercising, and sleeping well and the better your outlook on life will be because you will not only feel great, but that positive energy will spill over into every thing else you do. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself once in a while. If you want those chocolate chip pancakes, eat them. If you have been wanting to buy something in particular for ages, get it. You are allowed to treat yourself once in a while.
  • Take Time To Do Things You Enjoy Or Learn Something New: When we get so busy we tend to forget that we are allowed to have a little fun. The best thing to do is to make a list of the things you enjoy and then try to figure out how to work those activities into your weekly and/or daily schedule. I love to play piano and sing and finally after over a year I brought my keyboard down to my apartment and I am so happy that I did. Now when I am bored or stressed I can sing and play and completely turn my mood around, while also becoming better at something that I love to do. Better yet, you can also take time to do things you have always wanted to do, like learn how to cook or start learning how to play a new sport.
  • Get Something Done That You Have Been Putting Off: Clean, re-organize your closet, pay a long overdue bill, whatever it is, once you have done this it will immediately reduce stress.
  • Dress In Clothes That Make You Feel Good About Yourself: When you walk outside and you have on a fantastic outfit, your make-up is done, and your hair looks great, you automatically have self-esteem and you are starting your day off in a positive way. Try every day to put your best face forward.
  • Spend Time With People Who Make You Feel Good About Yourself: This seems like a no-brainer but if you think about it, how often do you do something because you “feel like you have to” even though, you really don’t want to and it feels like torture. Yes, there are certain things in our lives that we are forced to do whether we like it or not, but friendships and relationships should make us feel happy and supported, not the opposite. Avoid those people who treat you badly. You have the power to choose how YOU respond to this negativity. You can’t control other people but you can control how you react to those people, whether it is ending a friendship, or telling them how they upset you. There is no reason to be around someone who has a negative impact on your life or your self-esteem.
  • Make Your Living Space Relaxing And About You: You can take a few tips from my previous post if you want to re-decorate or you can simply display photos or special items that remind you of things you have accomplished or people who you love. Use creativity to add comfort. Make a space just for you.

In order to accomplish some of these things it takes self-discipline but even doing one or two of these things can have a vast improvement not only on your stress level, but on your overall outlook on life. You want to take small steps toward realistic goals and remind yourself that you have needs too!

Hey everyone! This is my first post and I am excited to be blogging. Hopefully you will find my blog helpful… or at the very least entertaining when you are surfing the web. My first post is on an article I read in the March issue of Glamour in their “how to do anything better guide.” Unfortunately you cannot access these tips on their website so I figured I could give you a few of them here!

The title of the article is “Upgrading Your Home for Under $50” and let’s be honest… who has extra money to re-decorate their apartment these days? Not many of us. The article features Charlotte Ronson’s apartment and gives a few quick and easy tips to refresh and re-energize your apartment and start anew in 2011.

Their first tip is helpful for me (I live in a tiny apartment in Beacon Hill, MA)– How do you maximize your space?

1. Large Art (photos, posters, etc.) — My sister and I did this in our own apartment and our cheap way was to buy a poster either online at a site like allposters.com or to go out and find posters in stores like Target or Newbury Comics. You can purchase a poster of whatever you enjoy for $10-$15 and then purchase an inexpensive frame at Target or Walmart for around $10. Once you have done this you have taken something college students tape onto their wall and turned it into something chic! (an example of one of ours is underneath)

2. Glamour reminds us to fill our homes with our own personal pictures. I myself am a culprit of this. I always intend to print out pictures I have taken but never do. The best part about this is you can approach it in the same way you approached the large art or posters. You can upload pictures to places like Walgreens or CVS online and have them printed. The price depends on how many pictures you request to have printed, but as Glamour says, “they bring warmth to any home” and you can visit places like Target and Walmart to buy inexpensive frames.

3. Their next tip is to organize your bookshelves by the size of the books and mix up the colors of your books for something more splashy and exciting. You can also add small trinkets and souvenirs to your shelves as well as the photographs you have possibly just printed out!

4. Bold colors make anyone feel better. However, I prefer a more monochromatic look in my own home. We have white walls and we decorate with black and white. Our couch has a white slip-cover with black pillows and all of our frames are black, but this allows for flexibility when it comes to blanket colors and other accents and this is where our bold colors come in.

5. Glamour’s other tip I have done myself in order to save room! Decorate your apartment or room with your jewelry. My jewelry box was over-flowing with necklaces and trying to find the one I was looking for always took too much time and stress, especially because they would all get tangled together. I decided to buy a white wood key holder with 4 hooks and hung all of my necklaces on there (I got the key holder at Target for around $6). Not only does it look cute, but it keeps them untangled and I can see all of my options and find the one I want easily.

6. Their last tip is to “accept hand-me-downs” which trust me, my sister and I took great advantage of. Anything our parents did not want anymore we took and either added a slip-cover or we painted it. For example, my parents had an old brown wooden coffee table, which did not match with the look my sister and I were going for. I found paint and I painted the coffee table a light gray, then bought stencils from Michael’s and black stencil paint (probably all of it cost me $10-20) and I made my own design on the coffee table. Not only do I now own a one of a kind coffee table but I am proud to say I was able to make it myself!

I hope that these tips help you and allow you to be creative without stress and strain on your bank account. Sometimes all you need to re-energize is a fresh coat of paint!