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Summer – Looking Good and Feeling Good Means Lifestyle Changes

Does summertime strike fear in your heart? For many people it does, simply because they know that the warmer temperatures mean wearing clothes that cover less of their body. Whether you just want to look more toned, have a significant amount of weight to lose, or if you are looking to lose weight to allow you to feel more confident, you want to find things that you can easily add into your life. A change in attitude and lifestyle is what you need to allow you to reach your goals.

Start A Food Diary

Most of us do not even realize how much food that we eat or what food that we eat. We think that we are eating okay, but when we take the time to write down the food choices that we make, including the amounts, it can be extremely eye opening to us. If you want to see exactly where you stand as far as food, a food diary is a great way for you to do just that.

Make Activity Part of Your Day

While you want to have some time in your day set aside to exercise, you also want to think about ways to increase your activity all day. By taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking further away from the door, you can increase the number of steps that you take. Experts recommend taking 10,000 steps per day for maximum health and wearing a pedometer daily can be a way to make this part of your lifestyle. Realize the importance of exercise. Even John F. Kennedy understood this importance when he said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

Think About Food Differently

Most of us understand that food fuels our bodies, but we don’t really get it that our bodies need specific foods to work in the most efficient and healthful way. Giving your body junk may help you to feel full, but it will not give your body the vitamins and minerals that it needs for basic body processes. If you want to feel great and look great, you have to change the way that you eat and this means that you need to consider food as more of a fuel, rather than a fun event. That is not to say that healthy foods are not fun, but it does take a change in attitude to get to this point.

Make a Decision to Be Healthy

Most of us are good at making resolutions and promises to be healthy, but the follow through is where we fall short. We need to find ways to keep that dedication and consistency that we feel the first few days. By changing up your activities, enlisting a friend to work out with you, and using music to motivate you, you can help to stay on task and be able to feel better and look better. In addition, you may want to get some equipment for your home. Read some equipment and elliptical trainer review information to find the right choice for your home and your needs.

Be Supportive of Yourself

No one is harder on you than you and this is something that you want to get away from when you are trying to change your lifestyle to that of a healthy one. If you have a slip-up, don’t just give up. Instead, get back on track the next possible moment. By doing this, you will stand a much better chance of success. This is something that is difficult for me, but it is something that really made a difference in my weight loss.

Summer doesn’t have to strike fear in your heart. By getting healthier and toning up your body, you can feel better in your clothes and help yourself to have more confidence in your shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits.

Mom of three and full-time freelance writer, Melissa Cameron, loves writing stories that will motivate others to get healthier. Although still on her weight loss journey, she believes that everyone can succeed with the right information. By reading elliptical trainer reviews and articles, you will have the information you need to be a success.

How to Easily Transition a Nursery into a Toddler’s Room on a Budget

So, it’s time to turn your child’s nursery into a toddler room. I remember the anxiety of leaving one wonderful stage of my child’s life and venturing into the unknown. However, I am finding out that each stage seems to bring with it a new and exciting world I would have otherwise not known.

However, as wonderful as the next stage will be, spending a fortune on the transition might not be in your budget. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, not even close.

I am going to share some wonderful tips on giving your child the room they deserve, without having to dive into their college fund to do it.

Furniture Options to Consider

Perhaps you are lucky and have a convertible crib, one that you can change into a toddler bed. It might have cost you a bit more when doing the nursery a while back, but nothing to convert it now.

If not, I would suggest going with a toddler bed, rather than a twin bed. One reason is that they can be less expensive, but you also don’t have to buy a new mattress. You can use the crib mattress, as it’s the same size.

We purchased a small, and low to the floor toddler bed that was in the shape of a boat. It was inexpensive, and fit the theme we had. The down side is that he outgrew it in about a year’s time. However, if you are hoping to save money, it can help by not having to purchase large items, along with everything else at the same time.

We also had purchased a changing table that doubles as a dresser, and an armoire that can be used for any age. However, if you have pieces you no longer can use, sell them. Use Craigslist, eBay, or have a garage sale. What you make from the sale can go towards finishing the room.

Decorating on a Budget

One way to save on the budget would be to use the same flooring and wall color, if possible. Look for themes that your child would like, which wouldn’t require a complete change in wall color, or flooring. You can always add a throw rug on the floor to tie in the theme or color choice.

So, that leaves the walls and bedding. Instead of purchasing expensive wall art, try one of the following ideas:

  • Playful Murals – If you are artistic, paint a mural on one of the walls. It doesn’t have to be extensive with detail, since it’s a room for a child. So, why not make it very child-like in the drawing? This is the room that pretty much anything goes. If you want to draw a stick person, do it. Or, with princess themes for the bedroom, go for a large, but generic castle.
  • Removable Decals – A nice alternative to painting a mural, or hanging wallpaper, is removable decals. They are easy to apply, and just as easy to remove. So, you won’t have to work to get them down like you would wallpaper, or paint over them.
  • Chalkboard Paint – If your child likes to draw, you can give them an entire wall to draw on, with chalkboard paint. Let them put their own artistic stamp on the room, which can be changed on a daily basis. It also provides an area for play, without taking up space.
  • Framed Art – For the little artist, take some of their best pieces and frame them. You can buy inexpensive frames and have instant art that is free…as well as unique, and a part of your child. If you don’t like the frames, paint them, which can also add a splash of color to the room.
  • Hanging Toys – Consider hanging some inexpensive and lightweight toys as wall art. For example, hang some colorful and plastic sand toys such as shovels and starfish. Model airplanes, doll clothes, and kites are more options.
  • Decorative Shelving – Pick up some inexpensive decorative shelving to place small and colorful toys that fit the theme of the room.
  • Framed Photos – There is a wide selection of royalty free photos you can download to frame for the walls. These are often very low cost, if not free. Just search the Internet for ‘royalty free’ photos. You will be amazed at the enormous selection, low cost, and high quality that you find.

As you can see, there are many inexpensive options for the walls to help create a wonderful retreat for your child to enjoy for this new stage in their life.

Bedding and Window Treatments

By adding a splash of color and activity on the walls, you could get away with some very basic bedding and window treatments. This alone could help keep the budget down.

In Closing

I hope that I was able to share some ideas that you like, or at least have inspired your creative side to save some money. After all, college will be coming up soon.

About the Author

Enjoying a career in freelance writing, Kathy Barber typically writes on topics such as medical, family, and travel. She found inspiration for her latest series of articles when looking through Disney cars décor for her son. Kathy lives in Michigan with her husband and son, and enjoys traveling, reading, photography, and music.

8 Tips to Naturally Give Yourself Whiter Smile

Having a perfectly white smile is one of the biggest confidence boosters you can have and being able to show it off in a natural way will make you seem more likeable and friendly.  People who are embarrassed about their smile rarely exude the same level of confidence but with a little time and some of these tips you will soon notice that the smile is brightening along with your mood.

1)      The number one way to prevent discoloration, cavities and gum disease is to make sure you follow the normal dental hygiene routine that has been drilled into you since you were a child.  Regular brushing, at least twice daily combined with flossing will help ensure your teeth have the best fighting chance to bolster your smile.

2)      Keeping up on your dental appointments even if you think nothing is wrong to at least get your teeth cleaned twice a year will make maintaining a whiter smile much easier.  Everything you can do that removes any buildup of plaque and other discolorations will make any natural process you decide to use for whitening your teeth further without resorting to expensive cosmetic dentistry that much more effective.

3)      Keep water with you where possible and if you are eating out order water with your meal so you can discreetly rinse your mouth after eating.  Try to stay away from any water that contains fluoride, including toothpastes as fluoride can cause discoloration.

4)      Stay away from drinking large quantities of soda particularly cola, red wine, coffee and tea as they tend to stain your teeth or dental implants, although you can minimize the effect with regular rinsing during the day and using chewing gum to force your mouth to clean itself after drinking a cup or two.

5)      An unusual at home treatment is actually to use hard wood ash.  Hard wood ash contains high levels of potassium which acts as a bleaching agent for teeth.  This method is very effective but should not be used frequently as although the tiny potassium crystal are excellent for removing stains prolonged use can cause your tooth enamel to become weakened.

6)       A better method although slightly slower is to make a paste out of Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen Peroxide can be obtained from most drugstores and is relatively inexpensive.  To use it mix equal amounts of both ingredients to make a paste and you can add some mint toothpaste to the mixture to make it taste better.  Use this mixture instead of your regular toothpaste a couple times a week and make sure you don’t swallow it.  Once you have finished brushing with the paste add a small amount of the Hydrogen Peroxide to water and use to rinse your mouth afterwards.

7)      Strawberries get a lot of press for their natural teeth whitening properties.  There are a couple of methods you can use for this.  One is to cut a strawberry in half and rubs the half over your teeth using the natural acid to remove any stains.  The other is to squash a strawberry to a pulp and mix it with baking soda to form a toothpaste substitute in a similar way to tip six.  Strawberries however suffer the same limitations as Wood Ash so rare use is advised rather than regular

8)      Try to increase the amount of raw vegetables you eat, if possible have a late afternoon snack of raw carrots, celery and broccoli as theses vegetables will actually clean your mouth as you eat them.

About the Author

Melissa Cameron is a wife and stay at home mother of two, and lives in Austin, Texas. She loves to research, and provide tips and consumer advice.  Her latest project is undergoing research on kid’s dentistry with the assistance of Dr. Diane Birda Vancouver BC dentist.

Making Your Motives Clear- 5 Reasons to Build a Dream Garage

Owning a dream garage is something which only a select few can say they’ve done. It is sad because most individuals never realize their dream of designing their own garage and having it come to life. You see, everyone has their own reasons why they would need (or want) one built. Some people do it for the profits while others doing it for the love. Either way, let’s talk about five reasons why you should consider building your very own dream garage.

Increase the Value of Your Property

First and foremost, adding a dream garage to your property automatically increases the value of your home. Now, this number can be huge or it can be very small depending on how well the garage coheres with the home. For example, if the garage displays colors and designs which match that of the home, and they look like a perfect match, then this definitely makes it much more worthwhile to potential buyers.

A garage doesn’t cost as much to build as you believe it does. You can have a descent one constructed for about $15,000. This is a small amount compared to the total price in which you’ve just increased your property value by.


Most people who have money are just plain board. They have no hobbies and sit around doing nothing all day long. Building a dream garage from scratch can be an excellent solution to this problem. They can test their artistic abilities and design something really worthwhile. Being creative and constructing something like a garage can keep you busy for a long period of time- not to mention you’ll learn a few things.

Sense of Accomplishment

This sort of goes hand in hand with the previous reason, although it’s a little bit different. People love feeling like they’ve done something productive. If they haven’t, then they may feel like that day (or particular time span) has been a waste. Constructing your own dream garage can really make you feel like you’ve done something special. After all, accomplishing such a feat is not easy and automatically puts you in a rare class.

Keep Your Vehicles Safe

The majority of garage owners are also big time auto enthusiasts. They have an absolute love for vehicles and revolve all of their time, money, and energy around them. If this sounds a lot like you, then maybe a dream garage is something you need. Chances are that if you love cars, then you probably have a lot of them.

You may even find it fun to re-build older vehicles and restore them to a newer condition- you obviously shouldn’t do this in your front yard. A garage can give you the space that you need to work on your vehicles without worrying about being watched or having them stolen. If you find the lowest rates on car insurance, then that is also another layer of added protection.


Let’s face it: home life can get hectic. Sometimes, having a place where you can run away and hide for a few hours is healthy. Viola! A dream garage might just be the answer. A dream garage can be turned into your own personal get away, filled with your interests and hobbies. For example, some individuals have been known to add separate living quarters in their garages just to get away whenever they felt the need.

Others have added an array of features including televisions, mini-bars, black lights, and refrigerators. This really gives your garage a nice, home-like atmosphere. Everyone needs a sanctuary and having your own, personal dream garage can be exactly what you are looking for.


As you can see, there isn’t one particular reason why someone would want to own a dream garage. One person may want one to increase the value of their property while another person may want it to work on projects or keep their vehicles safe. Whatever the reason may be, building a dream garage should be fun and help you accomplish whatever it is that you want.

About the Author

Melissa Cameron is a freelance writer providing valuable tips and advice for consumers looking for cheap auto insurance rates. When she isn’t helping people learn how to manage and save their money, she is busy surfing the Internet, learning new things, and looking for good deals. Her husband calls her the walking infomercial!

Sowing the Seeds – Sharing Hobbies with the Kids

Did I mention that I wanted to have hobbies because I felt I needed to incorporate some me time into my life?  That almost everything I did was for someone else?  Well it would appear that at least initially, my hobbies are a hit not just with myself, but also with my kids!

Green Fingers Everywhere

My gardening hobby has been met with complete enthusiasm from the entire household.  Hubby of course is overjoyed that revamping the garden isn’t falling on his shoulders.  The kids however are falling over themselves trying to help.  I did manage to get a plan and layout done by myself, but the trip to the garden center was a family affair.

Taking a leaf from some garden books (pun absolutely intended) I watched where the sun hit the garden and at what time of day.  With this knowledge we now know where to plant seeds.  The kids and I planted out a small fruit and veggie garden with some carrots, potatoes, and strawberries.  I know it’s not very ambitious, but it’s a start right?  At the bottom of the yard I’m creating a flower garden.  I’m hoping that there will be color all year around down there, at least if the things grow in the months that the packets say they will.  I’m sharing the fruit and vegetable patch with the kids because I’m hoping it will encourage them to eat more veggies if they have grown them themselves, but the flower garden is all mine.  I’m even contemplating the idea of creating a small meditation area down there.

There’s a Music Gene

Although the gardening has created material for my scrapbooking hobby, it’s the piano playing that has made the most impact on the house.  I hadn’t really thought about it but perhaps music is something that’s passed on in the genes.  Despite my own love of music, it isn’t something that I had really thought to encourage with the kids, well not above the usual age appropriate songs or singing along with the radio.  It turns out that without my help, my kids both have a good appreciation for music, and not just because I’m the one playing it.

Piano playing, as I’ve said in other posts, was something that always helped my spiritual well-being.  I stopped playing once my first baby was born because I didn’t want to risk waking him up from a nap – and if he wasn’t asleep, then there wasn’t time for piano playing.  Not playing the piano became a habit.  I was scared to return to the piano because I was afraid of not being able to hit the right notes anymore.  I now know that I wasted a lot of time because it doesn’t matter if I hit a few odd chords, who cares?  What’s important is that I’m playing.  What’s even more thrilling – well OK, almost as thrilling – is how much the kids appreciate the music.

Mistake Corrected

Both of the kids enjoy sitting and listening to me play, but they are very active listeners and tap their feet along with the rhythm of the piece.  That surprised me.  Some of the pieces I play are complicated and have time changes in the different sections, but the kids quickly adjust their foot tapping so that they are almost always keeping in time with the music.  I love the quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”  Having ignored music in my life for so long has been a mistake, but now it’s back and I’ve discovered that my kids are musically minded – and that delights me!

Initially I was going to lock the piano lid down when I wasn’t using it.  My thought was that this is “my thing”.  The little ones have shown so much enthusiasm to learn to play piano that I’ve had to lock it open instead (put some secure fasteners on the lid so that it can’t fall on their fingers while they play.  It’s a good job it’s not an expensive piano!  There is plenty of easy to learn piano music so I’ll be able to teach them some simple tunes that will keep them motivated to learn.

My hobbies are still about my creating “me time”, but what I’m discovering is that sharing my interests with my kids is showing me different aspects of their individual personalities, and that’s just as fulfilling as exploring my hobbies on my own.