Safeguarding Your Home & Family Against Holiday Crimes by Guest Blogger Aimee Lyons

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The movie Home Alone has become an iconic holiday film, most well-known for the hilarious booby traps set by Kevin to curtail the plans of the nasty robbers who had their sights set on his family’s home. But holiday season home robberies, sadly, aren’t limited to the big screen; CNN reports that burglaries increase during the holiday season in the real world, too. Here are a few common risks that may make your home and family a bigger target for would-be thieves and how to avoid them.

Leaving Valuables Out in the Open

Holiday parties are happening plenty during the holiday season, and if you find yourself playing host to a few or many guests, you’ll want to safeguard your valuables. Of course you trust your friends, but there’s always the possibility of someone bringing a plus-one they recently started dating. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your most prized possessions, so tuck those valuables away in a hidden safe when your home will be filled with guests.

Headed Out of Town? Hold Your Mail

One of the biggest indicators that homeowners are out of town is an overflowing mailbox. If you’re heading out of town for a few days to visit friends or an extended shopping trip, it’s worth having the post office hold your mail while you’re gone, particularly if you’re expecting any packages that will quickly fill up your mailbox.

Don’t Broadcast Your Plans on Social Media

It’s happened more than once, most recently with Kim Kardashian’s highly publicized robbery in France, yet social media users continue to publicly broadcast their travel plans across social networks. Letting the world know that your home will be empty and unattended for two entire weeks is akin to sending a written invitation to your local burglar. As tempting as it is to share every detail of your life, don’t.

Put Your Lights on Timers

Much like an overflowing mailbox can indicate that a homeowner isn’t around, Christmas lights that aren’t turned on for several nights in a row are a surefire indicator that no one’s home. Burglars generally don’t like to get caught, and they’re usually not out to get into altercations with homeowners or cause anyone physical harm, so they’ll choose a home that’s seemingly empty over a home with obvious family inside in most cases. If your lights are turned on routinely every evening, it’s more difficult to tell if someone’s home.

Keep Gifts and Packages Out of View

As beautiful as your Christmas tree is shining through the front bay window, avoid the temptation to pile up all those gifts too soon. If you do display gifts in advance, take steps to make sure that they’re not clearly visible from outside. Likewise, bring any packages delivered inside as soon as possible. If it’s feasible, make arrangements to have delivery drivers and postal workers tuck packages away in a spot that’s not visible from the street.

Don’t Trust People Going Door-to-Door

If your doorbell rings unexpectedly this holiday season, be cautious who you open the door to. Various scams have been carried out using door-to-door methods, such as people posing for charity workers or volunteers seeking donations, people posing as repair professionals or sales representatives. If you can’t verify a person’s identity on the spot, decline their request, or you can simply choose not to answer the door to anyone you don’t recognize.

It’s sad that families need to take extra precautions to safeguard their homes against potential crooks during the season of giving, but being the victim of a robbery is no way to spend the holiday season. Take the ‘better safe than sorry approach’ and play it safe this year.

Aimee Lyons is a DIY hobbyist. She created http://diydarlin.com/ to share her DIY knowledge and for it to serve as a forum to learn from other DIYers. She also loves crafting, refurbishing furniture, remodeling rooms, and landscaping. 

 

 

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GINGER: One Ingredient = Many Benefits! By Guest Blogger Stacey Marshall

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In this article, I’m going to share with you some information about a powerful, nutritional herb and compound, ginger.

Ginger is extremely versatile in its interaction inside the human body:

  1. It is proven to be an extremely potent pain reliever than box-standard pain killers
  2. Studies have shown it to be more effective at improving digestion than over-the-counter digestive medications
  3. It’s been proven to reduce symptoms of nausea

Ginger root has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits. As I mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of consuming ginger is that it reduces inflammation.

A recent medical study, published out of Denmark, and published in the Journal of Arthritis, found that:

If you consume just a small amount of ginger, it is more effective at reducing your pain symptoms and inflammation than pain killers given by general practitioners today.

So again, if you’re trying to reduce pain and inflammation, ginger is more effective than many medications, according to the Journal of Arthritis.

Ginger is also very effective in improving the digestive function. If an individual suffers from some kind of inflammation in the intestines, this could well be a warning sign of GI inflammation. Things like eczema, acne, psoriasis, or certain types of skin blemishes are a warning sign, that you probably have inflammation in your digestive tract. Ginger is a great way of reducing these symptoms.

Not only has ginger proven to reduce inflammation, it also supports digestive health. Another incredible thing about ginger is that it aids digestion due to its prebiotics content. It contains a specific type of fiber, which causes good bacteria to grow in that area.

For all the dieters out there, a healthy digestive system aids weight loss, which is another benefit of using this ingredient.

Last but not least, ginger is very effective at reducing symptoms of nausea. So, if you’re ever going to be flying in an airplane, or let’s say, going on a boat all day, and you get sea sick, taking ginger is one of the best things you can possibly do.

You can rub a small amount of ginger essential oil behind your ear. One of the things physicians advise their patients over the years who’ve had arthritis, and diabetes, and other symptoms of inflammation, is to drink ginger tea.

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It’s very easy to make:

  1. Boil green tea
  2. Slice up ginger root
  3. Boil ginger root for 30 minutes (it releases anti-inflammatory compounds)

Try just drinking ginger green tea throughout the entire week.

Alternatively, break off a piece of ginger, or throw it in a smoothie. Ginger can be great with blueberries and peaches because it adds some really good flavor.

Remember all the benefits from ginger:

  1. It is powerful at reducing inflammation
  2. Can reduce symptoms of nausea
  3. Supports digestion
  4. Contains prebiotics

Get more of this super herb ginger in your diet. Medical science proves it, and history proves it, so how much more persuading do you really need?

This article was written by Stacey Marshall. Stacey is a qualified nutritionist and personal trainer. You can find more of her articles on www.authenticweightloss.com.

References:

  1. ‘Arthritis Journals| Peer Reviewed | High Impact Articles List’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/arthritis.php.
  2. ‘Ginger’. University of Maryland Medical Center. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger.
  3. ‘Ginger’. University of Maryland Medical Center. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger.
  4. ‘Ginger And Digestive Health Benefits’. Digestive Health Guide. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://digestivehealthguide.com/ginger-and-digestive-health/.
  5. ‘Ginger Health Benefits | Best Foods for Arthritis | Arthritis Diet’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/ginger-benefits.php.
  6. ‘Ginger: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-ginger.aspx?activeingredientid=961&activeingredientname=ginger.
  7. ‘JAMA Network | JAMA | Collaborative Care for Chronic Pain in Primary Care:  A Cluster Randomized Trial’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=183624.
  8. Rahnama, Parvin, Ali Montazeri, Hassan F. Huseini, Saeed Kianbakht, and Mohsen Naseri. ‘Effect of Zingiber Officinale R. Rhizomes (ginger) on Pain Relief in Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Placebo Randomized Trial’. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 12, no. 1 (10 July 2012): 92. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-92.
  9. Schittek, Birgit, Rainer Hipfel, Birgit Sauer, Jürgen Bauer, Hubert Kalbacher, Stefan Stevanovic, Markus Schirle, et al. ‘Dermcidin: A Novel Human Antibiotic Peptide Secreted by Sweat Glands’. Nature Immunology 2, no. 12 (5 November 2001): 1133–37. doi:10.1038/ni732.

GO CONFIDENTLY INTO SPRING By Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

 

FringeBag-CloseupMy trademark spring look, boho chic.

Spring is here and everyone is getting excited for the change of the season. Spring not only means that the weather is warmer and the flowers are blooming, but also that there are new fashion trends to peruse. With all of these great new beginnings, it’s impossible not to get excited for spring!

Even though there are so many great things about this season, many women dread the change because warmer weather usually means more revealing clothes. It can be difficult for any woman to shed her winter layers and expose herself to the world.

Here are some tips to help women confidently wear this spring’s fashion trends:

Start with basics that fit perfectly

Every woman needs to have a few essential items in her closet that she can pair with any outfit and feel fabulous in. some of these basics usually include a great pair of jeans, thong underwear, and a few layering t-shirts. Starting with these basics can help any woman rock a new trend with confidence.

Add a new twist to a trademark look

Most women have a trademark look, or a go-to style that they loved last spring and summer. Anyone can use these looks to create a new and fun trend that they will be able to wear easily and comfortably. For example, if last year a woman could not be separated from her maxi dresses, this year, she could try wearing a crop top over the dresses to create a new style.

Use light layers to cover up

Even though the weather is warming up, women can still use some layers to make each outfit a little less revealing and more comfortable. Most women will use sheer fabrics that are lightweight but still solid enough to cover any areas they are less comfortable with. This year’s mesh trends are perfect for this.

Focus on quality over quantity

Many women make the mistake of buying trendy pieces that are made of cheap fabrics and overall poorly made. Though this may seem like the best financial decision at the time, it is almost always better for women to invest in higher quality items. These pieces will not only last longer, but they will also be more flattering to a woman’s figure.

Only wear the trends you really love

Even though the media may tell a different story, not all trends are made for everyone. Women should recognize when a certain trend does not fit their style and avoid wasting money on something they will never wear. Instead, a woman can use her own style to make new trends and fads that she can feel proud of.

Take a chance on color

One of the best trends that always makes its way into spring fashion is bright color. Every woman can find one bright color that they love and that flatters their skin tone. This season, many women are trying out bright pink or coral, which is great on almost every skin tone.


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Finishing touch with accessories 

The best way to put the exclamation point to your new spring outfits is with fun accessories. Adding a great pair of sunnies, gemstone earrings and necklaces and a festive handbag lightens up your look after all the heaviness of winter.

 

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Tina Hamilton HeadshotTina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter

 

 

 

 

How to Start 2015 with More Confidence by Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

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There are a lot of excitements and pressures that women feel at the beginning of a new year. Every woman feels the need to instantly dump bad habits, make a lot of New Year’s Resolutions and suddenly be a different person once that clock strives twelve. Of course, this is just not realistic. Goal setting is a great idea to help any woman achieve her dreams, but no one can change completely overnight.

One of the most important traits that any woman needs in order to set realistic goals and achieve those goals is confidence. So many women struggle with not feeling like they are important or capable of achieving greater things, but this is not true! Every woman should create the power within herself to make 2015 her best year yet.

Here are some tips to help you gain more confidence in 2015:

Start with positive self-talk

Every woman is guilty of it from time to time. Putting oneself down and saying negative things is simply not productive. Every woman should focus instead on building herself up, not tearing down with negative self-talk. This can be a difficult process for a lot of women, but it is something that everyone should be working on constantly in order to become the best version of themselves.

Create a comfortable and expressive style

It may sound silly, but dressing cute actually does help a woman’s self-esteem. More importantly, the saying ‘dress the part’ still holds true. If a woman wants to be more confident to impress a man, get a promotion at work, or for any other reason, she should dress appropriately to help get to that goal. Women should forget about following trends and wear things that make them feel beautiful and comfortable, investing in t-shirt bra styles and well-fitting items that will last a lifetime.

Move every day

Exercise is an important aspect of staying healthy and happy. People who get regular exercise are not only happier with their lives, but they are also more confident and outgoing. Everyone should make a point to get up and move every single day. This can range from a ten minute walk around the block to a 2 hour sweaty yoga session.

Find a teammate

Women often feel like they have to do everything on their own, and there is no one out there who would be willing to help them even if they asked. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding. Every woman can and should work to find a teammate or partner who can help them feel better about themselves and achieve their goals this year. This can range from a life coach to a good friend.

Try something new

It sounds a little ironic, but it is true that one of the best ways to feel more confident is to do something that one is not confident doing! By getting outside of their comfort zone and trying new things, women can empower themselves and gain the confidence they need to take on any new challenge 2015 has to offer.

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Tina Hamilton Headshot

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter

PURPOSE GONE WILD by Guest Blogger Ashley Brown

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The Gift you are meant to give…

You are a rare specimen. I know that’s a random way of starting this blog, but its true! The fact that you are alive is confirmation that you have purpose. Out of MILLIONS of sperm and hundreds of thousands eggs, YOU WERE SELECTED TO BE HERE. This is simply amazing. In case you didn’t know, it only takes 1 sperm, and 1 egg to create a baby, and in that particular moment, you were created. This is phenomenal. There is a specific reason why you are here, and your purpose is directly linked to your passion.

Let’s talk passion today…

We all have our passions & interest. The problem comes when we fall into a hypnotic rhythm of imitating the lives of others, and fail to realize our own uniqueness. Those who are truly great and legendary are the ones who pursed their curiosities even when it was contrary to what everyone else was doing around them. They did not fear the opinions of others, they simply acted on their hearts desires and in turn, they made a significant contribution to the world. The problem with mass media and social media is that when you are so focused on the lives of others it can be a distraction and distort your thinking, making you believe that you are supposed to be in a position that you are not.

Truth is…

you are right where you need to be and as soon as you take your eyes off everyone else’s purpose you can start pursuing your own.

Don’t be afraid of your own happiness or success.

The world NEEDS that authentic thing you have to offer.

Imitating the masses is a sure way of neglecting your true calling. Dig deep to find your OWN creative voice. Copying is easy. Many people can do it and it makes money, but there is no rewarding feeling at the end of it. When you pursue your passions, that “rewarding” feeling is worth more than any dollar amount.

Take some time to revisit the things that captivate you.

The things that make your heart skip a beat or have you up for hours, researching, studying, dreaming etc. When you are really excited or passionate about something that is a green light that you are headed in the right direction. Some people have a misconception that discovering your purpose is supposed to be a drawn out struggle. It is actually the polar opposite. You are co-creating this life with the ultimate creator (God) and he has instilled a gift in you that will spark your interest.

It is important to act and dive deeper into even the most subtle passions that may seem random and pointless. For instance, if you have a passion for drawing on the ground with chalk, you may be able to start a campaign writing positive quotes on college campuses. As crazy as it may sound, extraordinary things happen when you take time to learn what drives you. God didn’t create anything that is not gifted. Master who you are, instead of being pre-occupied with everyone else.

As we head into the new year, I want you to rediscover your passions. Take some time to reflect back on what interested you as a child, and be confident on your pursuit of purpose. I can’t stress enough how living your purpose truly serves the world.

If your passions don’t line up with all the degrees you have received or career path you’ve been on, do not fear. It’s better to start now, than to look back 30 years from now, realizing you let all your passions die.

So…join me in re-discovering our passions and unwrapping the beautiful gift God has given us. #GettingMyLife #PurposeGoneWild (Hashtag! I want to see your success & progress.)

 Follow me: @AshleyEmpowers 

http://www.ashleyempowers.com

AshleyEmpowers

 

MIX & MINGLE LIKE A PRO: Common Mistakes Women Make At Holiday Parties by Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

The Most Common Mistakes Women Make at Holiday Parties1

Photo Courtesy of DailyWorth

The holiday season is nearing fast, which can send many women into a sense of panic. There are a lot of things to do before the holiday season is over, from buying presents to securing travel plans, the holidays can be a hectic time for any woman. One of the things that women often stress about the most is attending their holiday parties.

Holiday parties are meant to bring people together to celebrate, but often women create a lot of anxiety around these events. From finding the right thing to wear to deciding what to bring to even deciding how long to be at a party, there are a lot of little details that women feel the need to work out before the day of the holiday party. Most importantly, women should let themselves have fun at their holiday party. However, there are a few simple rules that women should follow to ensure that their holiday parties are a success.

Here are some of the most common mistakes women make at holiday parties:

Wearing something too sexy to an office party

Office parties can be a little confusing for women to dress for. Women can get confused between dressing work appropriate and dressing for a party. This is a balance that is not always easy to find. So many women just let loose and wear what they would wear to a club. Women have to remember that even though it is a party, it is in a workplace setting, so the attire should be festive, but still work appropriate.

Relying too much on the LBD

A good LBD, or little black dress, is always a great option for any special occasion. A LBD that makes a women feel beautiful and confident is always a good choice, but women should not let it be their only fashion statement. Holiday parties are about sparkle and fun, so a woman’s outfit should reflect that. Women can add some statement jewelry or a bright handbag to their LBD for a more festive look.

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Spending too much time at the bar

Drinking is a part of almost any holiday party, and there is nothing wrong with a woman having a few cocktails to celebrate, but they should be enjoyed in moderation. There is nothing worse than being the annoying woman at a party who has had one too many drinks. Women should limit themselves and have a glass of water after each drink.

Doubling up on gifts

Many women make the mistake of combining birthday, anniversary or even wedding gifts with holiday gifts. Women should instead give appropriate groomsmen gifts and birthday gifts at the appropriate time, and give a new gift for the holiday party. Each gift may need to be smaller or less expensive because of this, but the gesture will mean a lot more to the recipient.

Spending too much time with one group of people

Women are often time invited to holiday parties where they might not know everyone, or even very many people. This can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking for any woman (avoid the excessive drinking here!) and she might want to just stick around the people that she knows. Holidays are meant for gathering and mingling, and holiday parties can be the perfect opportunity to meet new people and network. Women should step outside their comfort zone and talk to some new people at their holiday parties, they might just get a great opportunity or new friendship out of it!

Inviting guests who were not invited by the host

Women want to have their ‘entourage’ with them as they head to their holiday parties. This may seem harmless, but it can be a big issue for the host if a woman brings other people who were not invited to the party. Women should put themselves in the position of the host and see if they would do the same thing. The host might not have enough food, drinks or even space for extra people, so women should leave the entourage at home and enjoy the people already at the party, taking advice from the previous point.

All of these tips can help any woman have a fantastic time at all of her holiday parties this year and make her a total pro at mixing & mingling! 

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Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on TwitterTina Hamilton Headshot

 

 

 

Cancer VS Suicide: Team Angels Won by Christine Handy

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Christine & a few of her angels, today! 

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer and completed my chemotherapies and surgeries before I felt full inside. I felt loved in a way I didn’t even know existed. I found the Holy Spirit through the teachings by my team of friends that we called my “team of angels!”

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The first days of my diagnosis I was set on suicide. In my mind I felt unworthy of the time and devotion I knew it would take for my family and friends to care for me. I was coming off an already brutal health problem and I felt like I had used up my “reserves” of care from my husband, parents and friends. I was ashamed to ask for more and yet I knew I couldn’t care for my 2 sons while fighting breast cancer. I believed everyone would be better off without me and without the intensity of my health pressures. I rationalized that decision and it made sense at that moment in time.

Then came my angels.

My friends rallied around me and made me believe the truth, Gods Truth. I was worthy and God loved me so much that He knew every hair on my head. The hairs before chemotherapy and each one as it grew back. I became overwhelmed with love, devotion and care by not only my family but my friends. They became my “team of angels”! And they were.

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Christine’s hair began falling out in the shape of a cross! 

I asked many of my friends why they gave up so much to help me. They gave up their time with their own families to care for mine. They gave up their lives in so many ways for my secured health and well being. And through their faith and teachings, I came to realize why.

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They did it for God, the Glory of God. Those woman didn’t want thanks, they didn’t care about the thank you cards , they taught me that the thanks went to The Lord.

I don’t know about you, but being raised a Christian doesn’t guarantee learning the principles that these woman taught me.

They taught me that my life was important and that I was worthy.

They taught me to give all my worries to The Lord .

They showed me what to serve really looks like even in a society that wants to take all the praise and the credit.

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They not only saved my life they taught me how to live. I went from giving up when I was diagnosed to fighting for my life with their help. I believe God put those woman in my life to change me, refine me and save me.

I am cancer free and love my life. I am never alone, I have the Spirit inside me. The terrors of diagnosis and the fears that come with it are devastating. But my life and my story are bigger than that day I was diagnosed, October 1 st , 2012. God has a plan for me that’s so great. There are days and nights where I feel doubt or fear but I remember my faithful angels and how they modeled the Truth for me.

My fears go away and I pray and feel comforted.

John 15:12-17
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.