When You Just Don’t Like Him

Copyright: estradaanton

Have you ever met someone who seemed to have all the qualities you were looking for in a partner, then after getting to know each other, you kept getting reminders of how much you didn’t like the person? There are two men who come to mind, one whom I dated in 2019 (I’ll call him Sam), and one whom I met during the pandemic (let’s call him Rick). The fact that they were both intelligent and educated actually threw a major wrench in things, because I relish a good intellectual conversation, and didn’t realize that both men simply HAD to be right during any dispute, no matter what. The fact that I had political views which differed from both guys fueled quite a bit of animosity, which strengthened my conviction to avoid any chatter which veered in a political direction.

Things progressed very rapidly with Sam, and by the fourth date, he started referring to me as his girlfriend. Before I knew what was happening, he began to plan out every single weekend for us without consulting with me beforehand. He went so far as to tell me that I would be required to join him and his mother’s family for Thanksgiving, which I completely rejected. It was all too much, too fast, and my independent nature rebelled against Sam’s need to control every part of the relationship. He was also arrogant, had a tendency to insult others whom he deemed less intelligent than him, had the clammiest hands I have ever felt, and was clumsy and terrible in bed (sorry guys, but that matters). I finally ended our relationship after three months via a very heated phone call in which he kept insisting that he had plans for us, and that I was “disobeying” him by breaking up with him. That should tell you something about the hell I went through.

Rick was very different from Sam in a number of respects. First of all, Rick was into fitness and weightlifting, he was very easy on the eyes, and had a more laid back attitude. I soon realized that Rick’s laid back attitude was partially due to a general lack of interest he had in me, which meant that he just wouldn’t make an effort to see me. We’d make plans, and he would conveniently “forget”, stating that he didn’t think we had “PLANS plans”. Rick had even pulled this stunt on Valentine’s Day, when we made plans to get together, only to have him back out with that same lame excuse. The only time we had Zoom calls was when I would suggest that we schedule one, and we didn’t even go out in public until late July of this year. I bet if I hadn’t complained that we had only seen each other in person 6 times over the span of 8 months, and that we would meet either at his home or mine, we would have never gone anywhere. I enjoyed going to a restaurant so much that I suggested that we go out for sushi a month later, and stated that it would be my treat. I figured that at least I would be able to enjoy the sushi meal as well. It didn’t surprise me that Rick didn’t flake this time, and made sure to honor plans for the sushi dinner I had offered to finance. Only moments after I paid the bill, which was over $200, Rick actually complained that he preferred the plain sushi selections over the more exotic ones, so I decided right then and there that I would never take him for sushi again.

Rick had a tendency to dole out unsolicited medical advice numerous times when I mentioned maladies such as neck pain or a rash. Who on earth would have the nerve to deliver medical advice to a board certified physician? Rick would, and it infuriated me every single time. Another very rude habit he had was that he ALWAYS had his phone by his side, and would often look at it, even while I was talking to him. We also argued about politics, cars, and spending habits, and as I realized how little common sense this guy had, my attraction to him flickered out like a snuffed out candle.

One of these days, it would be nice to meet someone who isn’t contentious, arrogant, flaky, or controlling.

Review of Nutree Brazilian Bottox Expert

My hair was always straight throughout childhood and adulthood, to the point where it often fought any type of curl or wave I tried to create. Then menopause hit, and my hair mutated into a super wavy, frizzy, unmanageable mess. To give you an idea of how wavy my hair became after the “change”, let’s just say that as my hair air dries after I wash it, it looks like I had put my hair into two pigtail braids and left them that way overnight, then unraveled them to release intense waves. On the rare occasion when I am rushing around and unable to run the flat iron through my hair once it has completely air dried, a few friends have witnessed how wavy my tresses have become. Despite the fact that those friends have remarked that they think it looks pretty, I cringe when I realize that someone has noticed the change in my hair texture.

Copyright: badahos
This was taken in 1991, when my hair was at its longest. You can see how straight it was.

I wouldn’t mind the waviness in my locks if 1) the wave was evenly distributed (the right side is considerably wavier than the left), and 2) my hair didn’t expand as it dried, creating a frizzy mushroom-shaped mass. I honestly feel a bit like Roseanne Rosannadanna when my hair is in the process of drying, and I fight it like crazy, using a brush-style blow dryer, hair oil, and shine serum. I have tried to skip the flat iron, but I truly can’t stand how my hair looks without that final smoothing step. I am always bound and determined to kill that hormonal squiggle which runs through my hair!

So when Nutree asked me to review their Brazilian Bottox Expert, I gladly agreed to do so, since I am always in search of products and treatments which can calm my unruly mop. This is considered a professional treatment, and the chemicals are rather harsh, so I strongly urge you to work in a very well ventilated room, wear gloves, and even wear protective eyewear if you have sensitive eyes like I do. Though I didn’t use my onion cutting goggles, I honestly did consider wearing them while I applied the treatment and for the 40 minutes during which I had the product penetrating into my hair. Even when I blow dried and flat ironed my hair, some of the fumes made me choke a bit, and my eyes teared a bit then as well.

Since Brazilian Bottox Expert is a thermo multi-control mask, and fills in the hair cuticle so that it is nice and smooth. So what you can expect from this treatment is hair which is shiny, smooth, and more manageable. The large jar should be enough for three treatments on my thick, waist-length, half-Asian hair, which I guess is acceptable. There is a sweet, bubble gum/fruity smell to the product, but that smell can be pretty strong when the product is being applied, or when a hot styling tool is introduced. That being said, the fumes are tolerable.

My post-menopausal wavy hair…

The first thing I did was wash my hair with an anti-residue shampoo, then allowed it to dry completely overnight while I slept (I’m lazy like that, and prefer to let my hair air dry). I then sectioned my hair into six sections, put on a pair of gloves, and applied the product to each section. I also made sure to comb the product through from roots to ends to make sure the product was distributed evenly. I set my timer for 40 minutes and made sure to sit in a well-ventilated room.

After 40 minutes, I lightly rinsed my hair, making sure to leave a thin layer of product in my hair. I could tell that there was a thin layer of product by the slippery quality in my wet hair. I towel dried my hair, then blow-dried it with a round brush. I will admit that this took FOREVER because I have very thick, long hair, and also because I detest blow drying my hair. One of the reasons why my hair is so healthy is because I only wash it twice a week, and I only run a brush-style hair dryer through my damp hair for about 3 minutes to speed up the air-drying process. So what I did was split up the blow-drying into three sessions, with about 20 minutes in between each session.

Once my hair was completely dry, I flat ironed my hair, taking small sections and running the flat iron 12 times through each section. The heat from the flat iron really kicked up the fumes, and my eyes began to water a bit, but I toughed it out. The result was incredibly smooth hair, without that nasty frizz I have been getting after washing my hair.

My hair immediately after finishing the treatment

About three days after I applied Brazilian Bottox Expert, I washed and conditioned my hair with Amazonliss Anti-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner. As my hair dried, I noticed that the wave in my hair had relaxed somewhat, which surprised and delighted me since the product is not considered a straightener or relaxer. Right before my hair was completely dry, I ran a hair dryer through it, but it took no time to get it to dry, and my hair looked smooth and relatively frizz-free, with no mushrooming out (no more Roseanne Roseannadanna!). I could actually tolerate the amount of curl in my hair, but I still ran the flat iron through it.

My damp hair after washing it 3 days post Brazilian Bottox Expert application
My dry hair after washing and conditioning it
This is how my hair looked after flat-ironing it and sleeping on it overnight

I absolutely LOVE how my hair is significantly tamer, much more manageable, with less wave and considerably less frizz. The other bonus is how shiny my hair is now! I am hoping that this will last a couple of months, because it has completely changed how I feel about my hair now. Brazilian Bottox Expert is a complete gamechanger for me, and I honestly believe that anyone who is dealing with excessive curl and frizz and wants to make their hair more manageable should try this product.

How to Achieve 5K Success – A Runner’s Guide for Beginners

Here’s another great article by Jason Lewis which will lead you to a successful 5K run!

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65

Photo via Pixabay

How to Achieve 5K Success: A Runner’s Guide for Beginners

by Jason Lewis

Running is great exercise and can be a lot of fun. If you don’t typically run, jogging around the block can seem impossible, but even a beginner can train to run a 5K race in just a few months. Ready to get started! Then follow these tips to achieve 5K success.

Start off slowly

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and rarely run, if at all, you aren’t going to be able to run a 5K next week. Start off slowly by walking every day for 30 minutes for four weeks. Then, for the next two weeks, run at least half of the time and walk the other half. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to run the whole 30 minutes.

Try Couch to 5K

If you need a detailed plan on how much to exercise each day, use a schedule like Couch to 5K, which includes a week-by-week plan that builds up gradually to get you ready to run a 5K. When training, don’t worry about your speed. Pace yourself and take walking breaks when necessary.

Team up with a friend

If you need the motivation to train and exercise, find a friend with a common goal. Pick a 5K race in your area that’s a few months away, and train together to run in the race. Having a friend for motivation and accountability can be a big help for beginners.

Use tech

Track your progress with the use of a fitness tracker or even a smartwatch. Though a smartwatch isn’t necessary, it can be extremely helpful to track your activity level. A smartwatch or fitness tracker can also work as a motivator, as well as keep you safe and healthy while running. The newest model in the Apple Watch series, for example, includes health and safety features like electrocardiogram (ECG) generation, fall detection, and emergency SOS. Additionally, some fitness trackers allow you to play music while you’re working out (you may need to purchase wireless headphones, which are available as over-the-ear or in-ear).

Don’t forget to stretch

To avoid injury and increase flexibility, stretch your major muscle groups after each run to cool down. Focus on your hamstrings, quadriceps, back, groin, and hips. Runners World offers these suggestions for post-run stretches.

Reward yourself

In the months leading up to the 5K race, set milestones in your training. Each time you reach a goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy – maybe a massage, a book, fancy coffee, or a new outfit.

Know the course

If possible, run the course (or at least map it out), so you can become familiar with the terrain, difficult areas, or places where you could get lost. Knowing the course will make you more confident on race day.

Don’t wear new shoes

Never wear a brand new pair of shoes on race day. Though you don’t want shoes with treads that are thin, you want to wear comfortable running shoes that are broken in and don’t cause blisters. If you buy new shoes weeks before the race, alternate wearing your old shoes with the new one. Studies have shown that doing this can decrease the possibility of running-related injuries.

Don’t stress about it

As race day approaches, don’t stress about how fast you want to run or other details. Your goal is to finish the race happy and healthy. Enlist a couple of friends to cheer you on. During the race, don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning and take walking breaks for a minute or two throughout the race, if needed. Run the first two-thirds of the race at a comfortable pace. And then if you have a goal of a particular time to finish, pick up your pace in the last third.

Five kilometers might not seem like much, but it’s a big deal for a beginner to finish a 5K. Celebrate your finish by going out with friends, taking a day off work, or doing something else you enjoy. Next thing you know, you’ll be training for a half-marathon.

Dr. Stacey Naito is dedicated to helping people achieve their weight loss goals through her nutrition and exercise plans. To find out more about available programs, reach out today!

Design A Budget Which Works For You

Copyright: akkamulator

Not too long ago, I went shopping at a retail home goods store with a good friend. When we approached the checkstand, my friend experienced a bit of sticker shock, because she kept adding things to her cart and hadn’t kept track of how much she was spending. When I suggested that she might want to review what she had in her cart and perhaps pare down, she responded with, “Well, it will somehow work out. I still have some room on my credit card.” We kept chatting as the sales clerk rang up my friend’s items, and she continued with, “I never know how much I have in my checking account, and I don’t keep a budget, so I always hope and pray that I make it each month.” By this time I was cringing at what my friend was saying, and I also became very concerned for her financial health.

If you are like my friend and choose to throw caution to the wind by refusing to follow a structured budget, you have signed up for a rocky financial future. You may argue that you have the same fixed expenses each month, such as mortgage/rent, cell phone, and your car payment, and that you somehow always know approximately how much you spend on groceries and fuel for your car, but if I challenged you and asked you to itemize those expenses, I would bet that there is some overspending occurring. If you are also forgetting about discretionary expenses like a regular Starbuck’s habit, or even worse, you are neglecting retirement savings or contributions to an emergency fund, then you are skating on very thin ice indeed.

You might be thinking, “But I don’t know how to make a budget!” The whole idea of sitting down and creating a budget may sound daunting, but all it entails is writing down all of your income sources for each month, then creating a separate list of all of your monthly expenses. Once you have the basic framework of your regular expenses, you can add in your occasional expenses, such as personal care items (haircuts, etc.), auto insurance, upcoming vacations, etc. so that you are aware of the need to cover them. If you really dig deep, you will probably encounter hidden expenditures you weren’t completely aware of, such as streaming movie rentals, outdoor dining, or even online subscriptions which you might have forgotten about.

Once you have determined how much money is coming in each month, and how much money must be spent on fixed and variable expenses, you can see which expenses are unnecessary or frivolous, and you can also determine what other financial goals for which you can earmark part of your income. Examples of good financial goals are the following:

  • Paying off credit card debt (make sure that you add your monthly payments into your monthly budget!)
  • Vacation plans
  • Retirement planning
  • Adding to an emergency fund

Once your budget is completed, make sure to refer to it at least once a month, and as you reach certain financial goals (especially paying off credit card debt), you can make adjustments to your budget. Funds which were previously being funneled in one direction can be redirected to another goal, such as cushioning your retirement accounts or emergency fund. I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on eliminating any credit card debt, because nothing erodes financial security more than this type of debt. Think about it: if you are paying 19.9% APR on a credit card balance of $2,000, that means that the credit card company is making an extra $400 in a year (this is a very rough estimate, since you would be making payments each month on that original balance). The other problem is that most people will add to a credit card balance, which pushes you into deeper debt. With credit card debt, it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back, so if you have credit card debt, HELOC’s, or another high interest debt, your primary focus should always be on aggressively paying those balances down. Once you are free from credit card debt, I strongly recommend that you curtail usage of any credit cards and use cash or a debit card instead.

When you stick to your budget, you may be surprised by how much it will improve your financial picture. A budget establishes a framework which enables you to move towards financial goals you might never have thought you could ever reach. Another great thing about an effective budget is that it doesn’t have to be static, so as your goals change and you reach certain markers, you can make adjustments to further fortify your financial position.

Simple Yet Effective Self-Care Tips for Entrepreneurs — And Why It’s So Important You Make Time for Them

Check out this very informative article by Jason Lewis, targeted towards entrepreneurs to help them learn how to practice self-care.

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.

Most entrepreneurs are of the notion that they have to clock an inhuman number of hours each week to obtain some semblance of success. This is the only explanation for the fact that 33% of small business owners put in an average of 50 hours per week and another 25% clock 60 or more. Yet, while many of the world’s most successful business owners agree that a nine-to-five workweek just won’t cut it, most also concede that self-care is an integral component of long-term success. If you have plans to make it big in your industry, take time out of your busy schedule to treat yourself.

The Case for Self-Care

According to Psychology Today, self-care is a key driver of leadership and workplace success. Below are a few benefits of self-care that back this assertion:

  • The most effective self-care activities, which include eating healthy, working out, getting enough sleep, and spending quality time with the people you love, are all known workplace performance enhancers.
  • Self-care keeps you from working more, which actually helps your productivity. Research shows that working more than 50 hours a week produces zero productivity gain.
  • Self-care activities boost your creativity and confidence and decrease your stress and anxiety.
  • Self-care prevents career-crippling crises from occurring.

Now that you understand the importance of self-care, explore ways you can incorporate it into your schedule for the most impact.

Get Plenty of ZZs

Successful people may burn the midnight oil or wake up at the crack of dawn, but rest assured, they sleep. According to a CNBC report, some of the most successful people — including Jeff Bezos, Tobias Lutke, Bill Gates, and Lebron James — get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. So, wake up or go to bed at whatever time you want, but be sure you clock your eight hours.

Hit the Gym

Exercise is important regardless of how you choose to make a living. However, if you won’t rest until you find success as an entrepreneur, then get moving. Per one survey, 76% of some of the most incredibly successful business leaders workout for at least 30 minutes each day. Research shows that exercise releases brain chemicals that improve memory, boost concentration and increase mental awareness.

Exercise does not have to be your typical weightlifting and running routine. Richard Branson plays tennis and kitesurfs. Jessica Alba does yoga and Krav Maga. Oprah averages at least 10,000 steps per day.

Remember to Breathe

Though relaxation seems like the opposite of productivity, you need to take a breather if you want to have more energy to put toward your business. Relaxation techniques will vary for everyone, but a few of the more effective ones include listening to music, writing, walking, and simply breathing. It also doesn’t hurt to say no to tasks that add a lot of stress and little benefit to your life.

Another way to relieve stress is by choosing to structure your business as an LLC. An LLC comes with numerous tax advantages, limited personal liability, minimal amounts of paperwork, and ample flexibility. They are easy to form on your own or via an online formation service — call the Zen Business phone number for assistance.

Find Ways to Save Time

As an entrepreneur, you may feel like you have to do it all, but know that you really don’t. In fact, by outsourcing menial but still important tasks, you can save time, money, and energy — all of which you can put toward the growth of your startup.

Self-care is crucial to your success as an entrepreneur. Start showing yourself some compassion today by doing any of the above. Reach out to Stacey for the fitness and nutrition guidance you need to be your best self

Image via Unsplash

Living Room Makeover

Have you ever lived with the same furniture and decor for so long, you just need a change? I had the same living room sofa, throw pillows and area rug for 15 years, and was so tired of looking at the same color scheme and the same items, that I was itching to switch it up. Another compelling reason to redecorate was the fact that the living room I have had for the past 3-1/2 years is much smaller than two previous living rooms I had before, so the dark color story which I had selected made my living area feel very dark and cavelike, to the point where it just depressed me. It was also painfully obvious to me that when I moved into my current space three years ago, I had thrown the living room furniture into the space without any regard for design, flow or mood. At no point did I take any pride in that particular space. It took three years of me avoiding that one room in my house, only because the colors were too drab, before I became aware of how much it was affecting my mood.

Living room before
Living room after

Since I could not afford to replace the espresso leather sectional I have had since 2004, I decided to purchase a light colored rug, light colored blankets, and light colored pillows. By June of this year, I began searching for and purchasing new items for the space. I also sold the 8 foot tall artificial palm which was wedged in one corner of the room, and I got rid of the second ottoman which took up much needed space. When I chose the textiles for the living room makeover, I made sure to select soft, cozy fabrics, so that when people sat on the sofa, they would feel snug and comfortable.

What do you think of the redo?

Corner before
Corner after
Entertainment unit before
Entertainment unit after
Entertainment unit form above
Living room from above

Beautiful wool lotus rug is the centerpiece of the living room redo

How the Pandemic Made Wine O’Clock Acceptable

Copyright: iridi

Shortly after COVID-19 caused a global lockdown in early 2020, many of us began to regard having a cocktail before 5 pm as acceptable. Conventional rules about how most people used to live were thrown out the window when we were suddenly trapped inside our homes, bored, stressed out, and uncertain about our futures. I don’t doubt for a second that many people turned to booze as a coping mechanism, to quell concerns over the mysterious virus which froze the world in trepidation, and to soothe anxiety over job security and financial wellness. Perhaps some individuals also turned to libations to manage the aggravation which resulted from the constant close proximity to family members from whom they used to be able to escape when they were able to leave the house for work. I suspect boredom has triggered a fair amount of drinking as well.

Copyright: ajlber

During full lockdown, alcohol merchants made it easy for people stuck at home craving a glass of cabernet sauvignon to order online or through apps and have ethanol elixirs delivered to their residences. Even now, with restrictions largely lifted, restaurants and other food-centered businesses have come up with cheeky suggestions on how alcohol can calm spirits ravaged by the chaotic and confusing events which COVID-19 created. It’s surprising to me how so many people who never drank on a regular basis admitted to drinking on a daily basis during full lockdown, because it smoothed the rough edges of a tumultuous and frightening time in history.