Sunday, January 25, 2009

Breaking Free from Debt

Due to the worldwide economic crisis, it’s not unusual to hear people saying that they’re struggling to make ends meet. In fact, according to a Gallup survey, more than half of Americans are having financial problems. Because of the crisis, more and more people are having problems paying their bills and are racking up debt.

By definition, debt is an amount owed to a person or organization for funds borrowed. For many, borrowing cash or getting something on credit is a quick fix for money problems. However, the real problem starts when the debt starts to increase. In these tough times, staying debt-free may already be considered an accomplishment. However, economists believe that paying off debt can be easy if you are really focused on doing it.

Here are three simple steps that will help you get out of debt:
  1. Stop getting new debt.
  2. If you keep on adding on your things-to-pay list, your debt will eventually get out of control. Stop using your credit cards because they will put you deeper in debt.
  3. Save cash for emergency.
  4. You might be asking yourself “Why do I need to save before paying off a debt?” Simple – saving is more important than paying debts. This is because saving can help you cope up with unexpected expenses.
  5. Implement a debt snowball.
  6. Steps one and two may take you several months. The next logical step is to for you to pay your debts. It would be easier if you will pay your debt in increasing order. Settle the lowest balance first and then gradually pay the bigger debts until you pay off the highest. Set aside a specific amount to pay for debts every month. Always put your extra money to pay off your debt with the lowest balance.

Coping with debt is a long term process but if you have enough willpower, you will be able to get out of debt even if the economy is down. Here are additional tips to help you settle your debts:
  • Find additional income.
  • Signing up for overtime, doing consulting or finding a second job can help increase your income and decrease your debt balance.
  • Downsize when necessary and possible
  • This may sound difficult but the sacrifices will be worth it in the long run. Moving from a big house to a smaller one, selling one of your cars, eating at home instead of eating at fast foods and restaurants and decreasing your expenses can save you a lot of money to pay for your debts.
  • Keep your credit cards at home.
  • Buying only what you can and paying in cash can help you stop adding more debts.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What to do with your dry hair?

Hair is a protein filament that grows through the epidermis from follicles deep within the dermis which is most commonly found in mammals. It is a defining characteristic of the mammalian class. And in humans, generally hair is considered as a crowning glory” especially to women and a significant indicator of health and youth.

We have different hair issues but the most common is dry hair. A dry hair is a brittle and dull hair. It lacks oil and moisture. We may have dry hair every now and then because of different external factor but if the instances of dry hair are excessive, it can be a sign of a greater health issues.

Here are some of the causes of dry hair:

  1. Excessive Washing and Blow-Drying, Harsh Detergents
  2. Washing your hair too often, especially with a harsh shampoo, is a surefire way to strip moisture away. Heat from blow dryers, curling irons and electric curlers will also contribute to dryness.
  3. Environmental Dryness
  4. The climate you live in can also dry out your hair. Areas with lots of sun, dry heat and little humidity, for instance, will definitely make your hair drier than tropical, humid locales.
  5. Malnutrition
  6. A person who is malnourished does not take in the nutrients necessary for the body to maintain healthy hair. As a result, the hair becomes dry, brittle and damaged.

Basically, changing lifestyle can make your hair healthy. Eating healthy food and avoiding harmful chemicals and stress on your hair can make a difference. Here are other home remedies for dry hair:
  • Don’t overdo the shampoo and use gentle shampoo.
  • Excessive washing of hair and use of harsh shampoo can do more harm than good. It washes away natural oils and moisture.
  • Apply conditioner.
  • Little to no-alcohol conditioners can help you repair damage hair
  • Avoid the heat.

  • Frequent use of hot rollers, hot combs and blow dryers invites for dry hair.
  • Make it shine with beer.

  • Using beer after shampooing can help you regain the shine of your hair.
  • Add up additional oil.

  • Rubbing a little oil especially olive or coconut oil into the scalp can help your restore hair shine and softness.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to have Open Communication with your Teens

Teenage years from 13 – 19 years are considered one of the challenging years in a parent – child relationship. Parents and teenagers are having a hard time to catch with their generation gap and sometimes come to the point having a hard time communicating with each other. It is a phase wherein teens start to develop their sense of identity and that is the reason why they need more guidance.

Studies have shown that lack parental guidance and support may lead to unwanted behavior among teenagers like drinking, drugs, and having unprotected sex. And with this parents should have an open communication with their teenagers even though it can be a real struggle.

Here are some tips how you can keep communication lines open with your teenagers:

  • Asked questions and be “askable” yourself
  • Create a good, casual and interesting communication with your teens. Asked them about what happen at school, things that they do during the day. And let them feel that they can also ask you question even the sensitive ones.
  • Take your cue from your teenager - there's absolutely no point saying you want to talk, when he's rushing to get ready for a night out.
  • Try to spend time alone with your teenager and go out somewhere if there aren't any opportunities at home.
  • Treat your teenager with respect, much as you would another adult.
  • Don't overreact or fly off the handle if you don't like what you hear
  • Don't score points - like all of us, teenagers don't like being put down.
  • Don't try to impose your ideas - he'll inevitably reject what you have to offer.
  • Never put him down for his views or ideas; he needs your approval
  • Share information about what's going on in your life, but only for as long as your teen seems interested.
  • It's better to negotiate a solution than enforce your demands, so don't say, "I want your room cleaned up tonight," but "I'm getting really upset at the state of your room. When do you think you can tidy it up?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things you don’t know about your cosmetics and make-ups

Most personal products like shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics and make-ups are used every day. But do you know how it is made and from what ingredient? And do you have any idea how safe it is to use?

Studies have been made and proved that most of the cosmetic companies are adding synthetic ingredients that may cause cancer or reproductive damage over the years of sustained used. According to the survey of EWG (Environmental Working Group), more than a quarter of women in the total population and one of every 100 men are using personal care products a day which mean greater exposure to toxic ingredients.

Here are some of the toxic ingredients found in most personal products that you might to avoid according to Skin Deep:

1. Mercury

This heavy metal is a possible human carcinogen and a human reproductive or developmental toxin. Used in some eye drops, ointments and mascaras (look for it listed as "thimerosal" on labels).

2. Placenta
Placenta produces hormones like progesterone and estrogen, which may interfere with your body's normal hormone functions and could lead to breast cancer and other health problems. Used in some hair relaxers, moisturizers and toners.

3. Petrochemicals

These byproducts of crude oil may be listed as petrolatum, mineral oil or paraffin on labels. They are suspected or known carcinogens and may also break down into toxic products such as dioxane. Used in some hair relaxers, shampoos, anti-aging creams, mascaras, perfumes, foundations, lipsticks and lip balms.

4. Phthalates

Phthalates are used in some nail polishes, fragrances and hair sprays. It is a plasticizing chemical that are probable reproductive or developmental toxins and endocrine disrupters. Two phthalates, dibutyl and diethylhexyl have been banned in the European Union.

5. Hydroquinone

This ingredient is a possible carcinogen, a probable reproductive or developmental toxin and endocrine disrupter and may leave permanent black-blue lesions on your skin. Used in some skin lightening products and moisturizers.

And because of these facts it is advices that before buying products read the labels and check if the ingredients are all-natural and safe. To give you an idea here are some of the safe and gentle ingredients:

• Aloe Vera
• Plant extract
• Essential Oils
• Organic oils

Monday, January 12, 2009

Foods that Can Lower Cholesterol

Generally, cholesterol is lipid or a fat like substance that occur in the body. It is said that a certain level of cholesterol is needed for the body to work. And according to American Heart Association, having cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher increases the risk of heart attack and high blood. Too much of it can stick to the walls of the arteries called plaques which can cause narrowing of the arteries or even block them.

High cholesterol is common to people who has a family history of it and to those who practice an unhealthy lifestyle like an eating habit of having fatty foods. It has no symptoms and can only be determined by a series of screening.

You can lower cholesterol level by taking medicine but it is better to do it naturally. According to the American Heart Association, "You can reduce cholesterol in your blood by eating healthful foods, losing weight if you need to and exercising." Here are some foods you can add to your diet to fight cholesterol.
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • It contains an active component named eritadenine which shows to lower cholesterol.
  • Walnuts
  • It contains omega-3 fatty acids which is beneficial to the heart. And during the studies walnut can be substitute calories supplied by olives and other monounsaturated fats which lowers the cholesterol level.
  • SalmonThis fish is a
  • particularly good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower LDL cholesterol while raising the good (HDL) kind.
  • Garlic
  • Numerous studies have demonstrated that eating garlic regularly reduces LDL cholesterol and raises HDL levels.
  • Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
  • According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Family Heart Study, participants who ate four or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day had significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol than those who ate fewer servings. Among the most powerful veggies are the dark green, leafy variety, such as spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Laughing: Key to a Happy Heart

Do you remember the last time you laugh your hearts out? How does it feel?

Most of us don’t even remember the last time the laugh because of the stressful world we are living in. But have you ever thought that it could give bad effects on your health. Experts say that emotions can affect your health. It is just like when you feel too much stress, anger, sadness, pain and guilt you take toll of your health. However laughter has a different effect.

A person’s ability to laugh gives a feeling of superiority and power. And foster a positive aura and hopeful attitude. And therefore helps you to have a happy heart. There were studies that show connection of healthy heart and laughter or ability to laugh. If the blood vessels vasodilation (ability to expand) is poor, it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. During the study the 50% of the correspondents watch violent and stressful movies and the other group watches relaxing and humorous movies and checked the vasodilation. They found that:

  • Blood flow was significantly reduced by about 35 percent of the volunteers who saw the stressful film.
  • Blood flow significantly increased by 22 percent of the volunteers after watching the funny movie.
Laughter and humor is similar to exercise. A regular dose or laughing as often as you can make you feel better and help you prevent some health problems. Here are some of the positive effects of laughter and humor to your health:

  • An increase in the number and activity level of natural killer cells that attack viral infected cells and some types of cancer and tumor cells.
  • An increase in activated T cells (T lymphocytes). There are many T cells that await activation. Laughter appears to tell the immune system to "turn it up a notch."
  • An increase in the antibody IgA (immunoglobulin A), which fights upper respiratory tract insults and infections.
  • An increase in gamma interferon, which tells various components of the immune system to "turn on."
  • An increase in IgB, the immunoglobulin produced in the greatest quantity in body, as well as an increase in Complement 3, which helps antibodies to pierce dysfunctional or infected cells. The increase in both substances was not only present while subjects watched a humor video; there also was a lingering effect that continued to show increased levels the next day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How to Spend Less this New Year

During the holiday season most of us has spent majority of their hard earned money on parties, reunions and gift giving. It is now time to pay all the debts and spend less and save more. Generally life is expensive. But that should not be reason not to enjoy life. Here are some practical tips on how to spend less from Money Saving Insights and Wealth Management:
  • Review magazine subscriptions.
  • Do you read all your magazines? Stop subscriptions that you don’t use or read and if possible ask or find the best deals for magazine subscriptions.

  • Visit a farmer’s market.
  • Most cities have farmer’s market. You will find fresh and in season produce and the best part is that it cheaper than the grocery store.

  • Take advantage of the discount rates.
  • If you’re a student, teacher or a senior citizen, most establishments offers discounted rates so don’t hesitate to grab it.

  • Ask for the best price.
  • It is always a good practice when buying products, renting cars, booking a hotel room to ask for the best price they have. This kind of establishments don’t usually offer best price immediately, most of the time you must ask for it.

  • Enjoy the outdoors.
  • Now is a perfect time to visit your area parks and forest preserves. Pack a picnic and head outside for some hiking, biking or just a little fresh air.

  • Be a volunteer.
  • Not only is this a great mood booster and excellent way to meet new people, but if you volunteer at a theater or sporting event, you'll also get free admission.

  • Cook dinner together.
  • Instead of taking the family to a pricey dinner out, stay in and cook dinner as a family. Choose something simple and fun, that kids can help with -- like quesadillas, tacos or veggie pizza.

  • Stay active, stay healthy.
  • Being active, doing regular exercise and staying healthy is a good way to save money on health bills.

  • Do home massage.
  • Give your partner a good massage. It's sensual, mutually beneficial, and free!