This article popped up a few weeks ago in my flashback feed from October 2017, so I thought I would share it here:
Check out this inspiring and motivating article written by Camille Johnson on how to get back in gear after being on lockdown for so long.
Do you lack the confidence to re-enter the world after being indoors for an extended period of time? Maybe you lost your job due to the pandemic and are just now going back to work. Or maybe you were affected by lockdowns and are just now finding it safe to socialize again. Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure you are confident enough to get back into the swing of things. Employ the tips below to help you build the confidence you need to overcome your fears.
Build your confidence and fitness with customized nutrition and fitness programs from Stacey Naito!
The Importance of Setting Goals
Setting goals is one of the most important parts of any lifestyle change. With just a few small changes, it’s possible to dramatically improve your life.
Many people have trouble setting and achieving their goals. This is because they don’t have a clear idea of what they want or need in their lives.
To avoid this, create a list of goals to give yourself the confidence you need to take on the world again. You could create lists with short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals that will help you reach your ultimate goal: happiness!
Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress
Debt is a major source of stress for many people, with 47% of Americans feeling overwhelmed by their debt. While there are a number of factors contributing to the level of debt Americans hold, one major factor is student loans.
Some people might believe that they are not able to take on more debt as they try to pay off existing balances. However, there are ways you can reduce your debt while still saving money, such as refinancing your home.
Refinancing allows qualified homeowners to decrease the equity in their homes and free up cash or reduce their monthly mortgage payments. Additionally, refinancing can be beneficial if you’re looking to take out a different type of loan. For instance, some people refinance a low-interest mortgage for one with an even lower rate.
Go Back to School
Oftentimes, people stop going to school when they get married and have children or they simply start to feel overwhelmed with life. But if you’re interested in progressing in your career, then why not consider going back to school?
Back in the day, it was common for people to care for their kids as a stay-at-home mom. In today’s society, women and men work outside the home. That said, being a working parent can be extremely difficult, and sometimes it might seem like there isn’t an alternative.
Fortunately, there is hope! Going back for an online degree in business, criminal justice, or nursing allows you to complete your education in a more flexible way. It also offers a lot of perks, such as:
- The ability to balance work, family, and school
- Not having to commute every day
- Learning at your own pace
- No dorm fees
If you’re considering going back to school for a degree or certificate program, now is the perfect time. It’s an investment that can pay off for years to come in higher wages and better job prospects.
Setting goals, both short and long term, is not only a great way to stay on track, but it gives you the confidence to return to the world. When you are clear about what you are trying to accomplish, it’s easier to plan a course of action.
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.
Image via Pexels
I hope you all enjoy this informative and creative article written by Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net which has some excellent storage ideas to keep your home organized and beautiful.
If you feel suffocated in your own home because there is just so much stuff everywhere, there’s no need to go out and buy a bigger house. Make the most of what you have already by cleaning out what you don’t need and using creative storage ideas to organize what you keep. This may be a bit of a time investment, but there’s no need to drain your savings. Not only will the tips below help you organize a cramped home, but they’ll help you do it on a budget. What’s more, these tips are much more affordable than purchasing a bigger home and all that entails!
Never Pay Full Price
In the rare case you do need to make a little investment to create the storage plan of your dreams, commit to never paying full price for anything. What’s more, there’s no need to spend hours sifting through the paper looking for discounts. Major retailers frequently offer online coupons and cash back. So if you couple a coupon code with an additional offer, you won’t break the bank while you’re organizing and beautifying your space.
Add Function and Style with Floating Shelves
Turn all those books, knick-knacks, and houseplants you can’t let go of into creative decor with the help of floating shelves. Stack long ones on top of each other to create your very own built-in bookshelves. Or, stagger different sizes and shapes to create a unique look of your own. However you do it, it’s a great way to make use of vertical space in your home. You can save money on all different styles of floating shelves at stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond that regularly offer promotions and additional savings on your purchase. While you’re there, you can stock up on other organization staples like hampers, baskets, and shower caddies.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You would be amazed at how many awesome ways you can turn what others would consider trash into creative storage solutions. A great example is the cereal box. Your neighbors might flatten them out and throw them in the bin, but to a creative visionary like yourself, an old cereal box can become drawer dividers or a handy mail station. Or, think about T-shirts. We all have extra Tees from this and that event. Instead of throwing them out, why not repurpose the fabric and turn them into cleaning rags that reduce your reliance on paper towels.
Pack Up Unseasonal Clothes
Your grandmother had the right idea when she took a day each season to change out her wardrobe. There’s not much point in having all your sweaters and heavy coats cluttering your closet in the summer. Use vacuum bags to store your clothes, keeping them fresh and safe from bugs, dust, and moisture. However, there’s no need to invest in expensive store-bought versions; you can make your own vacuum bags for clothing with plastic garbage liners.
Embrace Multi-Function Furniture
If you have a little room in your budget after saving so much with the above tips, add a breath of fresh air to your home decor with a piece of multi-functional furniture that looks good while providing storage. Look for ottomans, coffee tables, full-length mirrors, and even chairs that have additional storage. Fill your new furniture with chargers, knick-knacks, slippers, or anything else you have just lying around for a less cluttered look.
Once you’ve organized from top to bottom, now’s the perfect time to commit to a thorough cleaning as well. From ceiling fan blades to the baseboards, you can make your home a healthy, organized haven. Look into savings for cleaning supplies at major retailers like Target so you can stock your arsenal or take it to the next level and make your own cleaners.
Think of the money you’ll save
All of this may sound like it’s going to cost you a lot of money, but in the end, getting your smaller house organized and decluttered is much easier — and cheaper — than finding a new home. Not only will you save money by not purchasing a bigger abode, but you’ll also save on the actual move itself. Hiring reliable professionals to handle your move costs money, which you’ll still have in the bank at the end of the day if you stay put and declutter.
A well-organized home is a happy and healthy home. You can achieve this dream for less when you embrace money-saving philosophies like “never pay full price” and “reduce, reuse, recycle.” You can also add function and style by using floating shelves and multi-function furniture. With a little extra elbow grease and some patience, your home will be tidier and more organized in no time.
On more than one occasion, friends have asked me if my plants have been christened with names. For the most part, I have not gone to the trouble to name all of my plants, mainly because I personally feel that it is unnecessary and silly for me to do so. I’m not knocking anyone who chooses to name all their plants, but the desire is, for the most part, absent in me.
So how do I discern between the close to 150 indoor plants which surround me at home? I tend to use certain descriptors when I scribble my plant watering notes each week (yes, I keep track of which plants get watered in a given week), and those descriptors are pretty straight forward. Usually, I will use the species name as a label, and if I have numerous specimens, I will write down the location of the plant. For example, I have two Hoya shepherdii, both of which are suspended over the two sinks in my master bath, so I refer to the one as “L shepherdii” and the other as “R shepherdii”. I realize these labels aren’t exciting, but they are effective in helping me to keep track of my plants when I am watering them.
However, there are three plants with bona fide names which I bestowed upon them, one of which was named the day I received it, one which was christened with a name about a month after it joined the plant brood, and one which earned its name after it exhibited an astonishing rate of growth. While two of the names are quite fitting for the characteristics the two plant babies possess, one name is reflective of the species of the plant, and quite honestly reveals how lazy I was about using a lengthy German name when I could truncate it and use a fun name.
Sid: Sid is a Ferocactus emoryi, “Emory’s barrel cactus”
My dear friend Blanche was at my house when I received Sid in the mail as a freebie which arrived along with a much-coveted monkey cactus I had ordered. As soon as I saw this spiky cactus, a name just popped into my head, and I exclaimed to Blanche, “For some reason, I really feel like this little guy needs a name!”, to which Blanche responded with, “I do too, and I’m thinking of a name too! If you say the same name I’m thinking of, I’ll freak!” The name which had popped into my head was Sid Vicious, so I revealed this to Blanche, who immediately squealed and said, “That’s the EXACT name I thought of too!” Later that day, I ordered a Sex Pistols mug to house the Emory’s barrel cactus.
Fred: Monstera adansonii ‘Friedrichsthalii’
This Monstera adansonii Friedrichsthalii very quickly became “Fred” after I needed to find a way to distinguish it from my other Monstera adansonii.
Rapunzel: Senecio radicans “String of Bananas”
This Senecio radicans was quite short when I bought it in June of last year, and it struggled for about two months before I changed its hang spot to an area right near a bathroom window, and essentially let it dry out completely between waterings. From that point, this plant just took off, and got so incredibly lacy and long that I decided it deserved the name Rapunzel. The longest tendril on this plant was measured on April 23rd at 46 inches from the edge of the pot to the end, which is three inches longer than it was a month prior. This radicans has aptly earned its descriptive and accurate name.
For comparison, the plant pictured above is another Senecio radicans which I purchased in January of this year. Both the radicans which I purchased in January and Rapunzel were at the level which you see marked in yellow when I brought them into my home. I look forward to seeing Rapunzel’s sister grow as long as Rapunzel.
Since plant people are increasingly more committed to their plants, often considering them to be pets or family members, it’s no surprise that more people are naming their houseplants. I like Nicoletta Richardson’s idea of naming plants after travel destinations from her bucket list, but for me, and if I had the energy to put into naming ALL of my plants, I could definitely see myself becoming a copycat and doing the very same thing. But I’d rather stick with the assigned scientific nomenclature because it appeals strongly to my scientific nerdiness, as well as to my propensity for properly classifying and labeling things.
I absolutely love my current L.A. residence, and I hope that I won’t have to move for a very long time. I know a number of people who are currently looking for places to live in Los Angeles, and I can certainly say that I don’t envy them, because the whole process of searching for a desirable new abode can be downright daunting. Thankfully, there’s Zumper, a fantastic comprehensive site on which people can research the rental market to see what the median rent prices are, browse listings, and even schedule viewings directly through the site.
I love the fact that Zumper enables you to research median rental prices for specific regions within Los Angeles County. Recent data by Zumper shows 63% of housing units are renter-occupied in Los Angeles, California, a fact I was not aware of until I visited the site. I discovered that the current median rental price for a 2 bedroom unit in Los Angeles is at $2,650, with an inventory of 4,087 available rentals. However, those of you who are familiar with Los Angeles County know that it is an enormous county, and the rental prices vary dramatically depending on what part of the county you are considering.
For those of you who are flexible about where you could live in L.A., or if you just want to browse the more popular parts of the county, you can simply access popular listings here:
However, since I am an L.A. native, I am pretty particular about which areas I would be willing to set up my cozy home shack. If I wanted to compare three different cities which I would consider living in, I could pull up findings like this:
Average rent for 2 bedroom rental:
- Marina del Rey $3,244
- Silver Lake $2,796
- Greater Toluca Lake $2,613
Based on the average rental prices for the above cities I discovered on Zumper, I could then really hone in on details by adding filters to a customized search. For example, check out the listings for a 2 bedroom unit in Greater Toluca Lake:
You can make your rental search as specific as you want by adding filters to the search engine such as number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, pet policy, rental type, lease term, amenities, and even adjacent neighborhoods. When you find a listing you are interested in, you can peruse photos of the unit and property, send a message to a property manager or owner, and even schedule a tour directly through Zumper. Who wants to gather phone numbers and contact property managers the hold fashioned way? I sure don’t, and I simply don’t have the time to sit around and make countless phone calls. It’s so convenient to jump on Zumper and send messages which take less than a minute to compile.
One important point I would like to make about hunting for rentals, is that it’s a good idea to do an area search for activities you enjoy, so you are sure that the area you are considering moving to can accommodate your interests. Since I love hiking, one thing I would do if I were considering a move to Toluca Lake would be to look up hiking trails in the area. Here’s a great resource for finding hiking trails in or near Toluca Lake:
If you are looking for a great new residence in Los Angeles, make sure to check out Zumper at https://www.zumper.com/rent-research/los-angeles-ca
In this video I review BN Labs Vegan Protein, which is a very clean, all natural plant-based protein powder. My review is unbiased, and I was only given sample packets to try for the purposes of reviewing the product. This video was shot about 3-1/2 years ago, but I still love this protein!
Please check out this excellent article written by Karen Weeks, which covers healthy habits which seniors can adopt in 2021.
By Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net
A brand new year is ahead of us, making it the perfect time to adopt healthy habits like eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and spending time with loved ones (whether in-person or virtually). Below, Dr. Stacey Naito offers five senior-friendly habits that can be adopted in the new year — and how seniors can go about incorporating them in their lives.
1. Eat Nutritiously
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, seniors need adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, B12, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and potassium in order to lead long and healthy lives. And fortunately, seniors can get all the nutrients they need by consuming plenty of fresh leafy greens, lean meats, beans, and healthy fats like avocados and fish. Supplementation may also be necessary if calcium, B12, B6, or vitamin D levels are low.
If you’re looking for some ways to eat better this year, try buying a new cookbook or two, purchasing a grocery delivery service, or visiting your local health foods store to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, healthy grains, and lean proteins. If you’re thinking of paying for a grocery delivery service, some of the best options for produce include Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market, and Farmbox.
2. Exercise Often
Like good nutrition, seniors need plenty of physical activity — including strength training activities, exercises for balance and flexibility, and aerobic activities such as walking, biking, swimming, or dancing. And fortunately, there are several things seniors can do to increase their physical activity in the year ahead:
Following along to exercise DVDs or online fitness classes.
Walking or biking alone or with friends (while practicing social distancing, of course).
Parking further away from store entrances when shopping.
Purchasing an elliptical machine, exercise bike, or treadmill.
Starting and maintaining a garden.
If you have a medical condition or you’re experiencing body aches or pains, a physical therapist can help you to select the best exercises for you. Plus, many physical therapists are offering virtual services amidst COVID-19.
3. Socialize With Loved Ones
Socializing is tough in the age of the coronavirus, but it isn’t impossible! With senior-friendly video chat software, online multiplayer games and apps, and safe in-person gatherings (like outdoor activities and walks with loved ones), seniors can safely spend more time with their friends and family members in the new year. Regular socialization keeps seniors physically, mentally, and emotionally well — and reduces their risk of cognitive decline and depression.
4. Keep the Mind Sharp
Speaking of cognitive decline, seniors should also make time for brain games and activities in the new year. Brain games keep the mind young and healthy, fight boredom, and improve overall mental well-being. A few brain training activities for seniors include:
Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and word finds.
Classes on cooking, foreign languages, dance, or music.
Arts and crafts like knitting, scrapbooking, and upcycling.
Reading, coloring, and drawing.
5. Clean and Declutter
Clutter is harmful for a number of reasons. Not only does it create tripping hazards at home, but excess clutter often triggers anxiety, concentration issues, irritability, and even depression. So, if you’ve been feeling especially negative or depressed as of late, the new year is the perfect time to freshen up your living space by cleaning, decluttering, and letting in as much fresh air as possible. Redfin shares a checklist with some ideas for cleansing your home and creating a happier and healthier living space.
New Year, New You
It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and take steps to improve your life, and these five tips will help you to tackle everything from changing your diet to eliminating excess clutter at home. No matter your age, the start of a new year is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and improve various areas of your life.
Looking for more health tips and advice? Visit Dr. Stacey Naito’s blog at staceynaitoblog.com.
Shopping habits have changed dramatically since the appearance of COVID-19 and the subsequent scramble to socially distance and protect ourselves. Grocery stores and retail pharmacies now have plexiglass shields at the checkout stands, and there are shoe stickers on the floors as visual reminders of the six foot distance we are urged to keep from each other.
Malls are nearly empty, and many merchants haven’t even dared open their doors. The days when you could just hop over to a local store and pick up a couple of items have been replaced with long lines of people waiting to get in, and staple items which are perpetually low in stock or completely depleted. Let’s not forget about all that toilet paper hoarding which defined the earlier part of 2020.
The new normal when it comes to consumer spending is largely confined to purchasing only the essentials, but there has also been a peculiar yet predictable surge in what can reasonably be described as online retail therapy. Since we’ve basically been forced to become homebodies, our shopping preferences have changed to reflect this lifestyle shift. Online streaming services have increased dramatically in popularity, as people search for shows and films to chew up some of their time at home.
Industries which have seen an uptick in their sales since the global pandemic hit include food delivery and takeout services, alcohol, exercise equipment, health supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and beauty and wellness products.
Some people have been compelled to stock up on bundles of essentials like pasta, toilet paper and the like, while others have fallen into the habit of purchasing unnecessary items, perhaps a long coveted item which was purchased with the attitude, life is short, might as well buy it.
The following excerpt from an article by Leanne Italie is an excellent description of the purchasing habits which many of us might find ourselves falling into as this lockdown continues:
“Shopping as therapy has been shown to reduce negative moods and boost overall happiness,” he said. “The big downside, however, is that such relief is very short-lived. That good feeling very quickly dissipates.”
Mr. Galak said some research points to “shopping while bored” as a variation with less emotional payout.
“Browsing for things that one doesn’t need fills the time and then clicking `buy now’ just naturally follows,” he said. “Consumers may find themselves on page 20 of a search result for a new pair of shoes, a place that when engaged and not bored, they would never reach.”
Jennifer Salgado, 42 of Bloomfield, N.J., is a shopper with many heads these days.
“Resourceful me has purchased: a pasta roller and drying rack, because now I’m Ina Garten; stuff to make hand sanitizer, because I’m now a chemist; and dog nail clippers that my 76-pound bulldog noped out of real fast and is now looking like Snooki from the ‘Jersey Shore,’” she said.
There’s also “luxurious me,” Ms. Salgado said, snapping up 96 macarons from a bulk-buying store, along with the Jennifer who needed 24 pounds of frozen peas.
“Most of the time, I forget what’s coming,” she said, echoing others who accepted long delivery dates out of fear. “And most of the time, I realize I never really needed these things in the first place.”
Kellie Flor-Robinson of Silver Spring, Md., just may be a combination of all of the above.
“I ordered a case of Moet,” she said. “I’m not sure that it was an accident, though — this thing has me buggy.”