Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My Crock Pot Chicken-Rice Dinner Recipe Eases Up Meal Preparation

My Crock Pot Chicken-Rice Dinner can free up a busy day.

Being attached to my stove or working harder than I need to are not my idea of what cooking should be like.  I believe if a recipe has too many steps that waste too much time or calls for expensive ingredients, then it is not for me.  Instead, a recipe has to be simple with common available ingredients besides being delicious.  I’m sure there are plenty of others that don’t mind following lengthy procedures or spending a lot more for ingredients, but why bother when you can create incredible dishes without all the fuss and expense?  

The Simpler and Cheaper to Make This Main Dish the Better

Now that you understand my philosophy, you can appreciate my great chicken dinner that I have for you today.  This recipe is one of those that I love to make when I have tons to do and don’t want to worry about dinner.  In fact, you can prepare this recipe in two different ways in the crock pot or in your oven.  Either method turns out nearly a complete dinner with the exception of your salad or vegetable to accompany it as a side dish.

My Crock Pot Chicken-Rice Dinner produces a tender, delicately seasoned chicken from slowly cooking it for about six hours on low heat surrounded by creamy rice.  Imagine a sauce of cream of mushroom soup, cream of celery soup, paprika, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and one envelope of onion soup mix to reinvent the flavor. 

Substitute for Ingredients You Have Doesn't Hurt

If you check your pantry and don’t have any dry onion soup mix on hand, you can improvise and substitute one-half cup of freshly, chopped onion.  The same goes for your mushroom soup or celery soup.  You can use two cans of cream of mushroom soups or two cans of cream of celery soup.  You can even substitute a can of  cream of chicken soup for one to change the recipe with what you have.  I have made this recipe with so many different variations without losing any delicious aspects of this dish while saving me an extra trip to the grocery store.  

I usually use a few chicken breasts, but you can use thighs or drumsticks whatever you prefer.  

You also can bake this recipe in your oven in a covered casserole at 350-degrees for about two hours or so.  I do suggest checking it after the first hour to stir and see if you need any more liquid before finishing.

My Crock Pot Chicken-Rice Dinner
My Crock Pot Chicken-Rice Dinner is creamy, hearty and makes a satisfying main dish.

1 cup regular rice
1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of mushroom soup 
1 can (10.5 oz.) cream of celery soup
1 can of water
1 can of milk
½ teaspoons of paprika
½ teaspoons of thyme leaves
1 envelope of onion soup mix or ½ cups of finely chopped onion
3 chicken breasts or 6 pieces of chicken (thighs or drumsticks)
3/4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

Place over your rinsed chicken pieces in your waiting crock pot.

Combine rice, soups, water, milk and seasonings and pour over the chicken.  

Sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over everything.

Cover with the lid and then turn on the low heat and cook for about six hours.

Check after two hours to see if you need to add any extra water for your rice.  If so, you can give it a quick stir and add about ½ more water or milk and continue until chicken is finished cooking.  


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What You Need to Know When Shopping for the Best Leather and Suede

This beauty takes her leather garments seriously.

Whether you’re in the market for a new take on the bomber jacket or a sensational new handbag or bustier sporting plenty of fringes, which will be big this spring 2018, you want to be sure of the leather or suede’s quality before plunking down your money.  Therefore, before you head to the store to shop for a new spring jacket, coat, pants, skirt, handbag or shoes, here are some helpful tips to distinguish between luxe leather and lesser quality goods.

The Variety of Leathers

Synthetic leathers are man-made to imitate the look of real leather.  They are less costly than actual leather and usually a sound option for those that prefer vegan material to an animal hide.

Nubuck leather is soft, top-grain leather that is carefully rubbed to achieve that satiny finish.  The appearance is similar to suede because of this process, but it is more durable.

Genuine leather is hardly all leather, but leather fragments attached with a glue to man-made cardboard like material to give it more substance.  Sometimes, genuine leather can use the split-grain layer of the animal’s hide, which are the worst fibers in the same sort of construction.

Suede leathers are sanded to give them their softness since they start out harder being from a bottom layer of the hide.

Top-grain leathers are full grain leathers that are sanded to rid the surface of any imperfections.  These are the soft leathers, usually the ones used for the best handbags and later colored.

Full-grain leathers are extremely fine quality leather without sanding or buffing to destroy the natural texture.  This is the best, strongest and most expensive leather you can buy.

The Feel of the Item Is a Strong Indicator of the Quality

The best leathers and suede are extremely soft when you run your hands along their surface.  The softer the feel, the higher grade the leather or suede.  On the other hand, an inferior leather or suede has some stiffness to it and a bit of an odor due to the tanning processing.

If you’re considering a suede piece, you need to carefully examine the coloring of the item.  Take it to a place in the store with the best light and look to see how even the color is all over.  Places on the piece that may appear blotchy, darker or lighter in sections is a sign of an inferior garment, which you don’t want.

The finest, buttery leathers usually are produced in Italy, Spain and France.

New Zealand excels in manufacturing the best quality suede.

The Color of the Leather Speaks Volumes

Leather is colored by two different methods.  The first is through drum dying, the process given to fine leathers, which thoroughly penetrates the material. 

Cheaper, more inferior leathers are spray-dyed on the outside.  The inside is usually covered with lining.  This is one clue to distinguish between the lower quality and higher quality leather. 

Construction Is Another Indicator of Quality

When considering a leather or suede garment, you want to inspect the piece for a satin lining.  If the item is unlined, it is a low quality garment that you should return to the rack.

Also, check the fringes for any missing leather or chips.

Examine how smooth the stitching is.  

Pay Attention to Price

Luxe leathers and suede garments can be high-priced due to the quality of material and construction over cheaper garments.  Keep price in mind because the better the item, the longer it can be expected to wear over a poorer-made piece.

You also might want to read my earlier post on how to shop for the best constructed leather handbag.

Monday, April 9, 2018

How to Make the Best First Impression to Win Over an Interviewer

You need to be prepared if you intend to make the best impression on a potential employer.

In the competitive world that we live in, the first impression that someone has of you could either help or hinder your career.  Therefore, your best chance of success or failure rests on those crucial few seconds upon meeting the interviewer to determine your future.

Give Yourself Extra Time for the Restroom to Evaluate Your Appearance

You need to arrive at least fifteen minutes before your interview to take care of your appearance and fill out any application and related forms.  You don’t want to jeopardize your chances by walking into the interview without thoroughly inspecting that professional image you radiate for public view.

Besides combing or brushing your hair that might have been wind-blown, it is important to inspect your outfit.  Look for any buttons that may have opened, any zipper that may have come undone, any straps from your bra, camisole or slip that might be falling and properly adjust them.  Pull down any riding sweater, dress or skirt.  You don't want to accidentally reach for a strap while you're talking or get up from your chair with an unzipped pair of pants only to expose yourself, which would cause untold embarrassment.

Carrying a few safety pins and a small bottle of hand lotion can save you from disaster if those straps keep falling, the zipper breaks or any static cling that your dress or skirt may encounter.  Rub some hand lotion between the palms of your hands and then pat your hose, camisole or slip helps.  After all, accidents happen when you least expect them.  It is to your advantage to be prepared just in case.

Make sure blouses, tops and shirts are all tucked in and as wrinkle free as possible.  

A dark suit, dress, or top can be revealing if you have any dandruff or lint sticking to your outfit.  Brush anything off that you don’t want that interviewer to notice. When the interviewer’s eyes keep wandering to the dandruff on your shoulder or the lint or fuzz on your outfit, this is hardly the kind of attention that you want if you hope to win a second interview.

Don’t go too heavy with makeup or fragrance.  In fact, you may want to skip perfume for your interview and aim for more natural, but polished look.  Smile and look for any lipstick on your teeth.

If you wear eyeglasses, check the lens for smudges.  Smudges can make you look sloppy and careless.

Those that habitually wear earrings might want to check that both were put on.  In a nervous rush, women have been known to forget.  If so, you want to take that lone earring off before you head into that important interview.

While Waiting in the Outer Office Reception Area Mentally Prepare

No matter how nervous you may feel inside, try to mentally prepare by picturing yourself already working in the position as you wait to be called for the interview.  Imagine your desk or office and what it will look like in your mind’s eye.  Now see yourself behind the desk, perhaps, typing on the computer or answering the phone or some other task that you would be doing.  The mind works in pictures.  The more that you see the image of you performing that job that you are seeking, the more reality that you give the energy.  The result can translate into more confidence.

Smile and Make Eye Contact When the Interviewer Calls Your Name

A warm smile and maintaining eye contact will show interest and how in touch you are to others.  It is welcoming and a way to connect with people with how open and approachable you are as a person or candidate to work with.

Body Language Says a Lot About You as a Potential Employee As Well

Hold your head high and maintain straight posture when you head toward the interview.  Shake his or her hand with a firm grip while maintaining eye contact.  Walk confidently as if you already have the position.  When you sit, be attentive and stay poised. Being too relaxed once you take a seat or fidgeting in your chair can give the wrong impression.

Be Confident and Upbeat About What You Can Bring to the Position

Even if you feel other candidates might have more experience or education than you do, don’t go into the interview taking that thought with you.  Otherwise, you might as well turn around and go home.  

If you don’t believe in yourself, then you have no right to be in the interviewer’s office.  Remember, you were called to interview because you had the education or skills that attracted the employer in the first place.  Your job now is to reinforce those qualities that caught the company’s initial attention and expand upon them and your achievements with energy and excitement of what out of the box thinking that you can bring to the position.

Prepare Ahead and Research the Company

You can always stand apart from the crowd and your competition by walking into the interview as informed about the company as you can.  Find out some relevant facts and weave them through your answers will impress once the interview begins. Employers love knowing that you took the imitative because it shows what drive and dedication you will bring to the position.

Show Enthusiasm and Be Attentive Through the Interview Process

Listen and do not interrupt the interviewer. When it is your turn to speak, ask your questions.  Don’t be shy about sharing ideas to demonstrate your grasp on the position.

Emphasize Your Strengths 

An interview is your time to shine as a potential employee.  Therefore, it is crucial to sell yourself to the interviewer by pointing out your strengths.  Perhaps, you are a “people” person that has a winning personality and are a good conversationalist that can get others to open up to you easily.  Then again, planning and organizing details for the large picture is something that you might excel in or always be the one that others come to for creative ideas that help to get projects started after the initial concept.  Whatever those strengths may be, share them with the interviewer while you have the opportunity.

Follow Up After the Interview Can Give You an Edge

Everyone likes to be appreciated.  Sending a thank you note to the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you can be helpful.  A little thoughtful note can single you out from the herd of others competing for that same position.  It also shows the interviewer exactly how interested you are to work for their company by making sure your name is remembered.

Perseverance Pays Off

Despite how well the interview went, you may not get the position.  Of course, you will take it as a personal rejection and blame yourself for something or another.  Whatever the reason was, not getting the job was not your fault.  After all, for every corporate job, it is estimated that 250 others hoped to snag that job also.  You, my friend, at least made it to the top 20 or so.  Take pride in that and consider that interview was your practice run.  The next job will be yours!  

Friday, April 6, 2018

My Tuna Penne Casserole Recipe Is Healthy, Simple and Delicious

This is a healthy, easy dinner.

Nothing pleases me more than doing less work in the kitchen without sacrificing taste or compromising on health benefits of what I’m preparing.  Casseroles are always one of my favorite ways to go because they are easy and a no-worry sort of main dish that requires a minimum of attention.  They also are great when you have leftovers that you don’t want to waste to reinvent a fresh new dish.  However, this is not the case today with the recipe that I want to share with you.  My Tuna Penne Casserole has a lot of reasons why I love it.

Reason One: This Casserole Is One of the Easiest Tuna Main Dishes Ever 

Imagine how convenient it is to know that you won’t need to be chopping and frying onions and garlic as you often do for casseroles.  You do have to fry some fresh mushrooms, but that is all the chopping and frying that you’ll need to do for this recipe.  

The hardest part involved is lining up your ingredients, opening the cans of tuna, cooking up your penne pasta and basically measuring the ingredients before sending it to your oven.

Reason Two: My Tuna Penne Casserole is Healthy and More Nutritious

Cooking healthy main dish courses can take thought and creativity before your family will welcome it as a regular part of your dinner menu.  Some of what I make wins instant praise from the family to serve again while others get the thumbs down for one reason or another.  My Tuna Penne Casserole was a big hit and the gang didn’t even realize it was packed with healthy nutritional benefits.  Instead, they just noticed how velvety and rich the cream sauce was.  

Ha, but I fooled them using plain, whole milk Greek yogurt.  It has that luscious creamy texture that made it so tasty.  At the same time, it provided a bounty of extra protein with 16 grams per serving, probiotics for gut health, plenty of B12, potassium, calcium, and was a lower calorie option to sour cream.  

Tuna fish is another low-calorie protein bursting with vitamins, minerals and hardly any saturated fat in this recipe.  I love cooking with tuna because it is a wonderful choice for helping lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and what it can do to aid the body’s immune system.  Nutritionally, you get a lot B vitamins like B12, niacin, vitamin B6, and riboflavin.  You also get body building minerals like potassium, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Mushrooms are another food wonder that deserves attention with all their fabulous health benefits such as a great source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, selenium, minerals, vitamin C, and ergothioneine.

Olive oil to brown the mushrooms is an excellent way to increase omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid to help lower bad cholesterol.  It also has a phenolic compound called oleocanthal that can reduce inflammation. 

Using extra virgin olive oil has even more health benefits.  To be truthful though, I prefer the lighter taste of regular olive oil.  

Parmesan cheese and milk are other ingredients that pump up food value with its protein, calcium and vitamins and minerals.

Reason Three:  This Casserole Is Delicious and a Hit With Young and Old

In my opinion, creamy casseroles are such comforting foods.  They seem to magically lift your spirits when you have a bad day by warming the stomach as well as the heart.  My Tuna Penne Casserole does seem to have that power once you get your first taste.  Maybe it is the slight tang of that cheese-yogurt sauce against the tuna that gives it that extra flavor to that smooth richness that makes this recipe so special along with mushrooms and penne pasta. 

If you want, you can top this casserole with some dry breadcrumbs, more Parmesan cheese and some butter.  I only do that when I have some stale bread that I want to get rid of to make crumbs or seasoned bread crumbs for cooking.     

Reason Four: My Tuna Penne Casserole is Extra Satisfying 

Something else that I honestly notice is how extra filling a serving of this casserole can be.  You won’t be as hungry eating a serving with how much protein is packed in this recipe as you would be a similar tuna casserole.  The real test is up to you to test it out and give it a try.  

My Tuna Penne Casserole

8-oz. cooked penne pasta, elbow macaroni or noodles
2 cans tuna fish (7-oz. size), drained
1-1/2 cups plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
3/4 cup of milk
8-oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of olive oil

For Cheese-Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine

Heat the oven to 350-degrees.

Brown the sliced mushrooms in the olive oil.

Cook the penne or whatever pasta you want to use, then drain.

Stir in the tuna, mushrooms, yogurt, milk, salt, pepper and pour into an ungreased two-quart casserole.

Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese on top.

If you prefer, you can sprinkle the Cheese-Crumb topping on before proceeding to the oven.

Bake uncovered at 350-degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until your casserole is bubbly.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Some Helpful Beauty Tips for Dealing With Skin Discoloration

This attentive beauty takes her skin care seriously.

Perhaps, your skin has no problem with any discoloration.  However, chances are that at some stage in your life that you’ll probably experience some form of a dark spot or pigmentation issue with your skin such as hyperpigmentation or melasma.

The Difference Between Hyperpigmentation and Melasma

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition caused by external factors to produce dark patches on the skin.  Usually these dark areas have irregular shapes and occur on the face, hands and exposed skin for both women and men. The biggest culprit is the sun with how it works against the skin.  In self-defense, the skin releases an enzyme called tyrosinase that produces melanin.  The more exposed the skin is to the sun, the more of that brown pigment floods the skin to eventually cause hyperpigmentation such as age spots from years of accumulated skin damage.

Another type of the same thing is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that comes from other sorts of trauma to the skin.  The darkened skin often results from pimples, insect bites, burns to cuts that could cause altered color when healing the skin.

On the other hand, women can only develop melasma.  Commonly, this problem usually shows up on the cheeks and lips with a fairly even shape when compared to each side where it’s located. This skin discolors in areas of darkened skin as a result of internal causes from hormonal changes such as during pregnancy to overproduce melanin.  Any new medication or contraception that you may start or be using can also cause drastic shifts in female hormones to cause this condition.

How to Deal With Either Type of Skin Discoloration

Regardless as to what brought the hyperpigmentation or melasma about, it is crucial to incorporate a broad spectrum sunscreen of least SPF 30 or higher into your life to prevent darkening the discolored areas further.  Wearing a broad-brimmed hat always and sunglasses also help limiting the damage from the sun’s rays.  Sun protection is also the best preventive measure that you can take to keep your skin safe.

Dark spots from hyperpigmentation can be brightened by looking for whitening agents to bleach the skin.  Such ingredients that can help lighten are kojic acid, licorice root, alpha hydroxy acids, and vitamin C.  Hydroquinone is another skin bleaching ingredient that has been used for more than 55 years in the United States, but has been banned in some European and Asian countries due to links to cancer.  Nevertheless, the case to its safety is still being studied here.  

You can also turn to natural ingredients for help whitening the skin.  Raw potato has an enzyme called catecholase that can bleach skin and help with puffy eyes.  Milk and yoghurt have lactic acid that work to lighten skin the same way. Tomato or tomato juice has fading potential with all its vitamin A and lycopene to guard against the sun.  Turmeric has curcumin that has the ability to whiten hyperpigmentation and protect from sun.  Lemon juice with its citric acid is another that can help lighten skin. 

Moisturizing the skin is more important than ever when your skin in under siege.  You might want to look into moisturizers that can also brighten or help speed skin renewal with ingredients like retinol.  When using retinol products, you may experience more sensitivity.  After all, the skin will be extra vulnerable so sunscreen can’t be stressed enough.

What else that you may want to look into is changing your current facial cleanser for one with niacin or any of the above brightening skin care ingredients.  This ingredient is also known to help brighten up darkness.

I hate to break it to you, but hyperpigmentation is known to return.  This is why it is vital to never leave the house without taking precautions with sunscreen.  You need to be on the defensive when it comes to your skin.

Depending on the degree of your hyperpigmentation, you also might look into a chemical peel or visit a dermatologist to get a professional opinion or, perhaps, a laser treatment.  This can help lighten and improve that rougher texture that your skin may have acquired.

Those with melasma are more than likely to find their skin discolorations clear up in time. 

How to Conceal the Dark Spots With Makeup

If you have ivory or beige in your skin tone and have any deep brown areas of discoloration, using a yellow concealer can help counteract the color.  I recommend painting over the discoloration with a brush to best target it.  You can also try taking a sponge and dabbing over the darkness as well.  Still, you get the most accurate results by painting individual spotted areas from the way you can control blending to finish the line.

In all probability, the darker in beige that you skin is, the darker your brown discoloration will be.  Therefore, you need a dark peach or orange concealer to help cancel that color out.  You can even try one of your orange lipsticks for a really deep brown spot against deep beige skin.

If you have ebony skin, I suggest picking up a concealer with gold and orange tones to it.  You can also try that lipstick trick I suggested.

Tell me if you ever had any skin discolorations problems and how you went about solving it.  If you have anything else to add, let me know.                  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My Turkey Patties With Mushroom Gravy Recipe Is a Tasty, Healthy Main Dish

My turkey patties with mushroom gravy are simple, healthy and delicious.

When you are trying to find healthy, tasty main dish meals that the whole family loves, the task can be challenging.  However, this particular patty served with mushroom gravy on a bed of rice or alongside mashed potatoes and fresh green beans comes up a winner every time at my house.  

These Easy Turkey Patties Provide a Variety of Health Benefits 

My Turkey Patties with Mushroom Gravy can use ground turkey or ground beef.  I just prefer the ground turkey because it is a better alternative to red meats when trying to limit bad fats and cholesterol.  To further boost health benefits, I add lots of freshly chopped onion, which has compounds that can remove toxins from the body, help with inflammation due to its phytochemicals, as well as lower blood sugar with its two antixodiants of quercetin and sulfur.  Being a flavonoid, onions can also help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol when eaten raw.  

Garlic was another allium vegetable like onions that I put in these patties.  Garlic is loaded with healthy properties from reducing blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol to helping the body detox if any heavy metals are present in the blood.  It also can improve a mood, help memory, defend against aging to even serve as a powerful antibiotic when eaten raw.

What else I added were quick oats for extra protein and fiber.  The oats along with a perfect blend of seasonings such as coriander powder, curry powder and hot sauce gave them a subtle, but slightly exotic flavor to the ordinary ground turkey.  Furthermore, the oats built up the patties enough to puff out wonderfully, making them heartier in appearance than a flatness of a typical burger.  Like magnificent meat mounds surrounded in a sea of floating fresh, sliced mushrooms in my special gravy, these turkey patties make a beautiful presentation when served over a bed of cooked rice or alongside mashed potatoes.

Even the Mushroom Gravy Is Healthier and Protein Rich

A simple way to increase nutritional value, extra protein and make a delicious dish like my turkey patties even more enjoyable is by adding mushrooms.  Mushrooms provide protein, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, selenium, minerals, and vitamin C besides the antioxidant, ergothioneine.  

Believe it or not, mushrooms also can help lower cholesterol, assist with weight loss and help with diabetes.  They can also fortify the immune system, which makes them regular staples at our house. 

I hope that you'll be tempted to try my recipe because even the picky eaters at my house clean their plates when I serve this.  

Dinner can be ready in no time when preparing these turkey patties.  Here they are before making the mushroom gravy.

My Turkey Patties with Mushroom Gravy

2/3 cup of finely chopped onion
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 pound of ground turkey (or ground beef, if you prefer)
½ teaspoons of ground coriander
½ teaspoons of curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoons of hot sauce (whatever variety that you have works)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of quick oats
1 large egg
3 tablespoons of olive oil

To Prepare the Patties:

Clean and chop the onion and garlic.

In your mixing bowl, add the chopped onion, garlic, ground turkey, spices, egg, and oats.

Shape into four big patties.

Preheat the olive oil in your skillet and brown the patties before proceeding to make the mushroom gravy.

Mushroom Gravy

1 package fresh mushrooms (8-oz.) cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of mustard 
1 teaspoon of catsup
1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
½ cups of cold water
1/2 cups of milk 
drippings in the pan

After the patties are browned on both sides, remove the patties to a plate until you make the gravy.

Stir in the cornstarch in the cold water to blend through. 

Add the mustard, catsup, salt, and pepper to the cornstarch liquid along with the sliced mushrooms.  Stir the ingredients and cook until a nice consistency.

Now add the 1/2 cup of milk to the cooked mixture.

Return the meat patties to the pan and continue cooking until thickened and the patties are thoroughly cooked.

Add more catsup or mustard according to your taste.  We like an equal balance to keep it from being too tart or too heavy on the tomato taste.  


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How to Power Up Your Day to Accomplish More Tasks

It is easy to become overwhelmed by work unless you have a plan.

Have you noticed that you can have the best intentions to get a set number of projects done a day but usually run out of day before you can finish?  Perhaps, this does not describe you.  However, if you fall into this trap and wonder what happened, then here are some time saving strategies for organizing a busy day that can help you be more productive.

Start by Planning What Needs Done the Night Before

I start the night before by making a small list of what I need to do the next day.  You don’t want to overextend yourself so keep the list doable with no more than nine tasks.  For example, you might write down grocery shopping, go to the dentist, pick up prescriptions at the drugstore, going to the post office, go to the bank, pick your child up after school, return library books, change bedding and laundry besides normal household cleaning and cooking. 

Mornings Are Prime Time When You Can Get the Most Done 

I don’t know about you, but mornings are the best time to start tackling a full day. Therefore, I make it a point to get up at least twenty minutes before the alarm clock rings to get everyone in my household ready for the day.  This is plugging in the coffee maker that I already filled the night before, grabbing the lunches from the refrigerator that I also made ahead while turning on the news for any weather and traffic updates while putting the pot on to cook oatmeal or scrambled eggs.  My routine simplifies getting everyone out of the door on time and enjoying our family time over a nutritious cooked breakfast.

When everyone is gone, the house is quiet and perfect for me to get a head start on my writing, research and correspondence.  However, I do not open emails until I have my post partially underway.

By the time the sun is fully shining, I take a break and throw in some laundry, do the dishes or another household task before returning to the computer.  While I’m occupied with a household task, I mull over what I was writing and think where I’m going next with the piece.  Using a small distraction gives me clarity instead of staring at the screen when you can’t find the right words.

Checking Emails Constantly Disrupts Productively

How many of us constantly check for new messages?  I would always do that, but found you waste unnecessary time doing that one thing too often.  Instead, I found it is more helpful to check less.  For me, I do it about an hour after I sit down at the computer and then before lunch, mid-afternoon and evening, about every two or three hours is a good estimate.  This way the computer doesn’t own me, but I still am in touch and accessible.

Also, keep your correspondence polite but short.  Otherwise, you can waste a lot of time that could be used tackling your work and other tasks.

Prioritize Tasks by Importance 

The best way to tackle many projects at one time is by organizing them by importance.  Start with the most pressing task and work your way down your list guarantees you completely finish each goal.  

Multitasking Is Not Always the Answer 

Sometimes, when trying to complete too many tasks at the same time, then you don’t do a good job or have enough steam to finish at all.  Another problem with multitasking is that you can become too distracted to devote the same levels of concentration for any remaining tasks.  I found that I can often get more done by keeping focused on one task at a time while using breaks to refresh my thoughts.

Limit Unnecessary Interruptions While Working

Have you ever noticed how many robo calls you can get in one day?  Unless you’re expecting an important phone call from your doctor, an employer, clients, etc., then I suggest letting your answering machine pick up.  Once you pick up, this signals those pesky telemarketers that they have a viable number.  Instead of allowing them to waste your time, do yourself a favor and let them get your machine.  You can get back to working in peace.

Taking Breaks Helps Refresh the Mind and Body to Accomplish More

We try hard to get as much done in one sitting or toward a certain task that we often forget to stop for lunch, a coffee break or just to get up from our seat to stretch our legs from sitting for hours on end.  However, you are not helping yourself as much as you may think.  Breaks serve a purpose to re-energize us in both the mind and body.

Take a few minutes and walk around your office, visit the restroom or grab a cup of coffee or herbal tea can do wonders to keep you invigorated and in top working condition through a normal day.   Try it and see an improvement in creativity as well as productivity.

Establish a Quitting Time and Stick to It

If you work at home or leave work at a certain time, then establish some ground rules with your employer that you are unavailable after hours.  Of course, if you have a position such as in the medical field, police or any emergency services, then this would be impossible.  Nonetheless, most of us aren’t in such a position and depend on this free time to relax and plan for the next day.  Without recouping, our productivity slacks down and our relationships may suffer.  Therefore, turn off your devices and disconnect from the computer at a set hour can cut down on stress and help you get more accomplished the next day.

Monday, April 2, 2018

How to Strengthen Your Emotions If You Overreact Easily by What Others Say

You can miss a lot of living when you're overly sensitive.

Every individual reacts differently to a situation.  Some of us are more resilient than others to quickly bounce back from any negativity they may encounter.  For others, any harsh exchanges or criticisms can be more devastating when it does not need to be. 

If you are overly sensitive, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.  Instead, it just shows a highly-developed capacity to pick up on other people’s feelings, which in turn can cause you needless inner pain or self-doubt.  How you coped with certain situations may need viewed in a new light in order to change your response.  Therefore, let me share some suggestions that can help keep you from getting too defensive.

Walk Away Before Overreacting

The next time that someone strikes out at you with a jab that hurts, here is what you may want to do.  Take in a few deep breaths to keep calm.  By doing so,  you’re allowing yourself to steady your heart rate and gain more control of the situation.  Thus, you can use that time to invent an excuse to leave the conversation.  You are not running away to coward because of what was said.  You are simply leaving to think and then ponder the words carefully over a period of a few hours or the next day before immediately reacting.  

Watch Out for Criticism From a Self-Appointed Expert

How many of us have a friend or co-worker that always jumps in with “expert” advice about something that they have no real experience with.  You know the type, the single career woman that criticizes something that your child or husband did that never would have happened if this was her child or husband.  In all likelihood, this “expert” wasn’t even invited to the conversation that you were having with someone else, but just had to dominate the conversation and show her importance.  

Instead of letting this “expert” unnerve you, you need to remember where this advice is coming from, a person inexperienced in child rearing or marriage.  What this “expert” brings to the conversation are just theory and not real life experience.  Besides that, this “expert” doesn’t know real details about you or your child or husband.  Listen politely, but take the criticism with a grain of salt.  If you hear something in particular that could ring true, then later discuss it with someone you trust that knows you well  to find out their opinion.  

Reinforcing  the Hurt Through Supportive Friends Is Not Productive

Friends are wonderful for emotional support.  The problem of constantly sharing your hurt feelings with them is it heightens anxiety.  Though it gives you an emotional release, the focus can be more on the pain that it caused to keep it foremost in your mind without any real answers.  You can be too wrapped up into making more of what just happened to have any opportunity to view it with a clearer head.  Instead, you could constantly be going through the same loop of telling your story and experiencing that anger and pain over and over again.  Nothing productive is ever gained when you keep yourself a prisoner of those painful thoughts.  

Perhaps, you might try a new tactic the next time by taking a walk, reading, or listening to some music to forget about the problem temporarily. Sometimes, we become so engrossed into our pain that it can be the only thing that we see.  When you give yourself a break and concentrate on something else for a little while, you may be surprised at answers or thoughts that will come to you when your mind is at rest.

You might also try meditation to help clear your mind.  Learning how to compartmentalize the problem and separate the pain from its hold on you can give you the right prospective that is healthier that you may have lacked before.

Know the Right Words When You Need to Respond Helps

There are times when you can’t help but feel the need to respond to some unwanted remark.  Therefore, you can coax more clarity of that person by saying, “Excuse me?”  This will give that person time to think or rephrase the comment, which may change the entire meaning or present his or her point in a clearer, more understandable fashion.

Another phrase to dig deeper into what the person just said is asking, “What did you mean?”  When you give that person a question like that, he or she needs to think what brought that comment on.  Incorporating a question like this can help filter out the truth from what may have been simply a misguided comment without any real substance.

Something else that is extremely helpful when you’re overly sensitive is asking that person who just hurt you to explain why he or said made that remark.   Opinions can change or stand when that person gives an explanation.  Taking the time to do this can give you more insight to better understand why this comment was said.  

Finally, you can just be honest and tell that person that he or she hurt your feelings by that comment.  Doing so, you are putting your feelings on the line and giving him or her the perfect opportunity to remedy the situation with an apology or clarification.

Strengthening Emotions Takes Practice

Hopefully, the information that I provided will help better prepare you to handle those rough patches more appropriately instead of out of proportion the next time they happen.  

Friday, March 30, 2018

How to Instantly Liven Up the Look of Your Eyes With Shimmering Radiance and Textures

This beauty uses shimmery pale color to open up her eye area through light.

Though I love doing a dramatic smoky eye, I always have a tendency to turn to shimmery pale shades of eye shadow for giving my eyes extra impact.  Dusting the lids with a sheer veil of sparkling pink, peach, gold, champagne, etc. seems to have the power to magically open up the eye area without much effort.  Relying on a shimmery pale shade also does perk up the look of the entire face from my experience to give the eyes more life, a bubbly sort of inner radiance, if you will.  

How Shimmer and Light Can Open Up the Eyes

When your eyes are first starting to show age, you naturally assume matte eye shadows are the only ones suitable for you at this stage.  I used to feel that way until experimenting with shimmery pale eye shadows as I shared with you in an earlier makeup tips post for brightening the eyes that totally took me by surprise.  After I noticed how much delicate sparkle of color falling against my lids enhanced without appearing overly made up, I was impressed because it was more a show of light.   

The way the color reacted on the lids was like that sparkle of sunshine when it hits your skin, illuminating it with pure light.  Therefore, I highly recommend giving the pale sparkling shadows a try because it can do more than you might image.  After all, light brightens and brings the area forward to make the eyes appearing larger whereas dark colors make the lids recede, which has the opposite effect.  

The Secret to Use Pale Shimmer Shades Effectively is All About Blending

If you want to use light shimmer eye shadow to your advantage, you can’t overload the color or risk looking gaudy.  To best pull this off, you need to blend the shade carefully.  After all, you could encounter harsh lines that would ruin that angelic effect that you’re striving for.  

Therefore, it is important to use a variety of your different eye shadow brushes such as your basic all over brush for the lid, a crease brush for softening your work that is tapered and a smudging brush with a flatter, shorter head than your flat basic, all over brush for limiting any sharpness of lines.  Having these different sizes of brushes can keep your application polished.  

Contrasting Shadow Textures Further Livens Up Eye Radiance

An interesting effect is playing with the shadow texture against the light.  When pairing a pale sparkling lid against a medium matte shadow in the same color family along with a slightly darker crease color for the far corner of the eye, you can benefit from that radiance and accent eye shape. What looks really great is using a pale rose-gold and then slightly deeper pink tones for sculpting together to shape the eye.

The important thing to remember is to keep the entire lid reserved for the shimmery shade with just enough of the mid tone and dark corner shade like a brick tone to define the shape of the eye. To really carry this off, make sure the mid tone color of whatever color family that you want to do is only slightly darker than your skin.  This barely distinguishable degree of color for the mid tone choice creates the best natural shadow when pulling this look together and blending thoroughly.  

To really make the eyes pop, make sure to line with a black eyeliner pencil that you can smudge or a matte black shadow that you use by wetting an eyeliner brush and several coats of black mascara.  Laying down a line that is too bold when attempting this technique such as using liquid eyeliner or pen eyeliner seems to diminish the effect of that glow of wholesome beauty.