Post by Category : General

     

New Year, New Goals

Finished

 

 

The beginning of a new year is always exciting. We feel refreshed, rejuvenated and excited. It’s time to set personal and professional goals for the months ahead.

 

As we embark on this new year, consider the ways you can start off on a good foot to make your life, body and mind healthy and happy in 2015. As you set these goals, remember to be realistic. It’s one thing to make resolutions and a whole other to actually keep them!

 

Take a look at this great article from What’s Up, USANA? for some inspiration on ways to turn your resolution into results!

         
     

USANA Among Top Places To Work… Again

Reason # 1,629,473 that I’m proud to be associated with USANA Health Sciences:

 

For six years running, USANA Health Sciences has been named one of America’s “Best Places to Work” by OUTSIDE Magazine, ranking No. 53 on this year’s list. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious, and prioritize giving back to the community.

 

The entire list of companies appears online at www.outsideonline.com/dreamjobs

Read more here

 

         
     

19 Cool Design Features Hidden On Stuff You Use Every Day

I have a few websites that I like to hit occasionally as a sort of mental sorbet, like Damn You Autocorrect or Awkward Family Photos – and there are some that I like to check in on occasionally just to learn something new, like mental_floss or Cracked.com.

 

So there I was, taking a break from all the things I was supposed to be doing, when I stumbled across this interesting article on Cracked:  19 Cool Design Features Hidden On Stuff You Use Every Day | Cracked.com.

 

I was already aware of a few of these Easter eggs, and only recently found out about the tab things on the ends of foil or plastic wrap boxes that help keep the entire roll from flying out when you use it – but I found several of the other items listed in this recent post both surprising and useful, like how to determine whether the upcoming exit on a highway goes off to the left or right, or that the ubiquitous Chinese food take-out containers fold out to form plates.

 

And just to reassure myself (once again) that I’m not the only quasi-intelligent human being on Earth who doesn’t know this stuff, I’ve shared it with a couple family members and now, with you.  Enjoy, and maybe learn something new!

 

 

         
     

Supplement Spotlight: Digestive Enzyme Keeps Things Comfortable – What’s Up, USANA?

 

 

You ate too much.

 

You changed your diet.

 

That ice cream didn’t agree with you.

 

Who thought that a greasy cheeseburger was a good idea?

 

There are all kinds of situations that can turn uncomfortable if your digestive system isn’t working as efficiently as you’d like it to. And nothing will ruin a business meeting, date, vacation day — you name it — like the common gut ache.

 

Fortunately, USANA has a solution to the occasional upset stomach: Digestive Enzyme. And it’s back in stock in the United States, as of today, with a new look and the same great benefits (other markets will roll out over the next several months).

Supplement Spotlight: Digestive Enzyme Keeps Things Comfortable – What’s Up, USANA?.

         
     

Ode to Spring

Winnie’s traveling this week so she has graciously allowed me to play in her sandbox – sam

 

In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

And in the Spring, an old man’s fancy turns to his yard.

-Me

 

As a boy, I liked playing in the dirt.  Making mudpies gave way to Tonka trucks, which led to fighting epic proxy wars with my brother and the neighbor kid, using those little green Army guys (with the occasional firecracker or some lighter fluid to make it interesting), digging out forts in the mounds of dirt pushed up by construction equipment in the vacant lot across the street and having dirt clod fights….  I even enjoyed yardwork (except raking around the magnolias – if you’ve ever done it, you understand) and weeding the garden.  Then, as an adult, I started growing tomatoes and a few annuals on the patio and, ultimately, began a garden of my own.
 
Now, it would be more generous than accurate to refer to myself as a “gardener”.  I still like playing in the dirt, and I like plants – especially watching them grow and thrive.  Put the two together and you’re gardening. Houseplants, flowering shrubs, perennials, bulbs, vegetables; doesn’t matter.
 
I’ve had some awesome successes – many of which were accidental, like the beautiful, healthy ficus I started by jamming a snipped branch into a pot of dirt – and some major disappointments, like the loss of 80-some irises last summer.  I’ve spent a lot of time online and have even spoken with a couple Master Gardeners from the local County Extension Office to try to figure out what went wrong on that one.
 
But I digress.
 
A few years ago, I was given a put-it-together-yo-damn-self greenhouse for my birthday.  At the time, my back yard was heavily wooded, so it remained unused, in boxes in the shed collecting dust and some brownish markings, the origins of which I’d rather not ponder.  Well, this year brings me a new house with a more suitable back yard, so it went up Tuesday.  (Note to manufacturer:  four hours, my dimpled fanny)
 
Anyway, the greenhouse is up, stocked, and ready for action.  I’ll start germinating seeds this weekend after this most recent cold wave passes… which brings me to what I planned to write about.  I’ve decided to impart some of my hard-earned, tried and true gardening wisdom to you, dear reader.
 
First, not only is gardening good exercise, but fruit and vegetables (tomatoes come immediately to mind) taste SO much better than those you can find in a store, and growing your own – especially from a pack of seeds – can have a welcome effect on both your psyche and your grocery bill!
 
For instance, blueberries. At stores around here, you can pick up a pint of the superfood for anywhere between $3 – 5.  Or you can plant your own at about the same price for a bare-root bush and never pay for them again.  A mature bush (3 years or more) with ample sunlight can yield up to 10 pounds per year.  Ka-CHING!  And they’re fairly low maintenance, acid-loving bushes, so treat ‘em like you would an azalea:  plant in acidic soil about 4-5’ apart, mulch with pine bark or aged straw, and hit ‘em with azalea fertilizer.  Unlike azaleas, though, they prefer as much sun as you can give them.  And they do cross-pollinate so plant a couple – 1 bush per person is recommended.  They’re also attractive, with blossoms in the spring, fruit in summer, and pretty fall foliage.  Just remember to pick up some bird netting.

More here
 
Another favorite of mine – cantaloupe.  Again, not cheap at $2.50 – 4.50 each.  In the summer I could eat the National Debt in ice-cold cantaloupe!  Some people have had tremendous success with seeds harvested from store-bought fruit, but these melons are generally hybrids so it’s a crap shoot whether – and what – they bear.  Save yourself the anxiety and just buy a pack of seeds.  Cantaloupes, like squash, watermelons, and cucumbers, can take up a lot of space – something like 30 – 40 square feet per plant.  But fear not, city gardeners, you can grow all these (well, maybe not watermelons) on trellises, a vertical section of lattice, and all kinds of wonderful space-saving options!  The only downside is waiting the 90 days or so from germination to harvest and, since they need warmer soil temps to germinate, you don’t see the fruits of your labor (yeah, I cringed too) until early August.
 
I guess you can tell that this is a topic dear to my heart, and that I could just go on and on AND ON about it, so a few quick tips and I’ll wrap this up.
 

  • Green (bush) beans – Harvest will only last for about 2-3 weeks, so for a continuous harvest, sow seeds every 2-3 weeks.  Soak them for an hour or so before planting, and direct sow, as they really don’t transplant well.
  •  

  • Whatever you decide to grow, consider marigolds or other companion plants to keep the bugs from doing the harvesting.
  •  

  • And another great cost saver is to use the
    cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels as free, biodegradable starter pots.

 
 
Some really useful links:

Burpee growing calendar

Farmer’s Almanac

North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Gardenweb.com