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Grab Bag Get Some Satisfaction:

This brilliant psychologist packs a rapid-fire punch in his 15 minutes on TED. Be prepared…. Shawn squeezes a lot into his time slot…. a faster, yet more entertaining, speaker I have yet to hear. Be sure to go Full Screen to keep up with Shawn.

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.

He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers — people who are well above average — to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is also the author of The Happiness Advantage.

Take away:

To re-wire our brains for happiness and success, Shawn prescribes these 5 habits:

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 4.05.48 PM

1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for every day for 21 days in a row. Research shows that by 21 days, we will have re-wired our brains to search for life’s positive aspects.

2. Journal about one positive experience you have experienced in the last 24 hours. Doing so allows your brain to re-live it.

3. Exercise. It teaches your brain that your behavior matters.

4. Meditate. It encourages your brain to focus and stop jumping from task to task, which is all too often expected or required in our society.

5. Random acts of kindness. Something as simple as writing an unsolicited email of thanks to someone, or as large as buying a bike for a child who can’t afford one… these efforts put happiness and success in perspective, allowing us to acheive more of both.

Grab Bag Siri Suggestions:

For those with an iPhone, I will share that I am slowly using Siri more and it tickles my senses to interact with her and have her accomplish things for me. I use her most while driving. She is really good at making reminders, setting appointments, reading emails and text messages to me, sending emails and text messages for me,  telling me what the weather is in any given city, telling me all kinds of stuff.

Here are some examples of what she can answer or do:

  • What day of the week was November 28, 1980?
  • Remind me to order iTunes gift cards two days before Christmas.
  • How many days until New Year’s?
  • Make an appointment named ‘Post Holiday Call’ for three days after Christmas at 10am with Jason Snell.
  • Reschedule my meeting with Jason Snell to January 8 at 2 p.m.
  • When is my next meeting?
  • What time is it in Dubai?
  • What time is sunset in Tucson, Arizona?
  • Mail my wife about Dinner tonight and say Would you like me to bring home Chinese?
  • Add “The Snuggie Sutra” to my ‘Books to buy’ note.
  • Remind me to pick up milk when I leave here.
  • What’s the current outside temperature?
  • How high did AAPL get today?
  • What did the market do today?

In my car I use Siri through my Plantronics K100 bluetooth speaker, which clips to the sun visor in my car. I’ve shared it before here, but it still is such a slick system, it bears repeating. And it is now selling for about $40 (I paid $70 two years ago)

plantronics-k100

Once you have initially “paired” your phone with the K100, you’re set. Get in the car with your phone (you can even leave it in your pocket or purse), power up the K100, and it will say “Power On”, and when it scans for and senses your phone, it will say, “Connected”.  If the K100 is already on, when you get your phone close to it (probably ~50ft. or so) it will say “Connected” (be aware… best to turn the K100 off every time you leave the car… if left on, it has been known to steal my calls when I unknowingly get too close to the car, and all of a sudden my caller is speaking to an empty car and I don’t know what the hell happened 🙂 ).

To operate Siri through the K100, just hold in the round button on the K100 until you hear the Siri “double-beep” activation sound. Then ask Siri to do all kinds of useful stuff for you, completely hands-free.

And what WOULD Siri look like? Here’s one artist’s vision of her:

Siri-look-2

Grab Bag Sexy Time:

Why is sex such a problem?

WHY IS SEX SUCH A PROBLEM?

Grab Bag Stain Solver:

From HomemakerChic.com….

I have a few spots I am going to try this on, but want to hear your feedback, too. If you try this, did it work for you or not?

Here’s a REALLY easy way to get stains out of your carpet. This works for organic stains like dirt and food. Be careful if you’re trying this with dyes or ink as the vinegar can make things worse. For stains you’re unsure about it is always best to call in a professional. (Or pretend you are one if you’re like me).

I have no idea where these stains come from, seriously. My husband must be sloshing drinks out of his glass or something because I have no messy kids and hardly any guests. I tried scrubbing and using Resolve carpet cleaner but neither worked. But this handy little tip worked like a charm.

All you need is White Vinegar, Water, a Spray Bottle, A Rag, and an Iron.

Spray the spot with a solution of 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water.

Lay a damp rag over the spot.

Iron on the steam setting for about 30 seconds. If the stain is really stubborn, repeat the steps, but I promise it will work!

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Not a game so much as a quiz and an exercise, from Mind Motivations:

Are You Left or Right Brain Predominant?

Look at the picture below for about 30 seconds and have a think about what you see. Then read below to evaluate the results of what you saw and find out if you are left or right brain orientated.

spinning-lady-brain-test

If you see the lady turning clockwise you are using your right brain

If you see the lady turning counter-clockwise you are using your left brain

 Some people do see both ways, but most people see it only one way. See if you can make her go one way and then the other by shifting the brain’s current. BOTH DIRECTIONS CAN BE SEEN. If you look away, she may switch from one direction to the other. We find that if you just look at her feet or relax and look at the floor where the reflection shows, she will switch direction!

Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking.

Differences Between the Left & Right Brain

Left Brain Right Brain
Logical Intuitive
Sequential Random
Analytical Holistic
Rational Synthesizing
Objective Subjective
Looks at part Looks at whole

Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain activities.

Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy.

Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.

Additional Information

There is a lot of research showing meditation, hypnosis and brainwave entrainment audios can help create unity between the left and right sides of your brain. This can be quite useful to ‘exercise your mind’ so to speak. Promoting unity of thought can help create more clarity in your decision making processes. This means you will neither ‘over-think’ about things too much with your left brain – or – be ‘too creative’ with decisions that require logical analysis with your right brain.

Note from LK: This exercise can be found on MindMotivations.com, which offers hypnosis recordings in CD and download. If you are interested in training your brain hemispheres in unity, I can also give a personal recommendation for Hemi Sync. I was introduced to them years ago when I needed surgery, and used their surgical recordings before, during and after my surgery, with what I felt to be good results. They have loads of task-specific recordings. While I’m not versed in it enough to really appreciate the differences in the recordings they offer, I can say that listening to these tracks does seem to make you feel different. Check out Brain Sync as well.

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Grab Bag Bluetooth Boom Box:

I’ve really been enjoying this latest improvement to the Boom Box dynasty this summer. Super easy, super portable…

Logitech UE Boom Box

Logitech UE Boom Box

Your music, Pandora’s music, your friends’ music… really any music that can be generated from your bluetooth-enabled phone (or other device) can be carried around your home, your yard, the beach, the park… virtually anywhere. No wires, no plugs, no connections.

While there are a number of bluetooth boom box products on the market, I chose this one because:

1. It has great sound

2. It can be recharged simply by plugging in the charger (some others have batteries that need to be removed and charged in a seperate charger)

3. It’s a decent size and easy to carry around (there are smaller ones, but sound is compromised).

While not cheap ($250), I can tell you that I have already used it in MANY more situations than I predicted. You can “kick the tires” and compare sound with other, similar boom boxes at Best Buy. I have not found any retailer offering discounts on this as of this writing.

I feel it worth the money, and highly recommend.…. 🙂

Grab Bag Autism Breakthrough?:

autism

While not a cure, the path to resolution often starts with discovery of cause. Read this report on a new blood test for autism:

A GENETIC “signature” of autism in babies as young as 12 months has been identified for the first time, an international conference is to be told.

A simple blood test is now being developed and may be available in one to two years, Professor Eric Courchesne will tell the Asia Pacific Autism conference in Adelaide today.

“This discovery really changes the landscape of our understanding of causes and effective treatments,” says the director of the Autism Centre of Excellence at the University of California in San Diego.

“This is going to lead to much better treatments at a much earlier stage and a large percentage of children having an excellent outcome.”

He said the several gene networks that are a common thread in autism have been identified for the first time.

“During the fourth, fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, they disrupt the production of brain cells, producing too many or in some cases too few, and how the cells are organised and connected,” he said.

“We’ve also identified four gene networks that are a ‘biological signature’ of autism in babies as young as 12 months.

“A blood screening test is being developed.

“At this stage it’s looking very promising that the blood screening test will have high accuracy, specificity and sensitivity for children at risk of autism.”

Professor Courchesne and his research partner Dr Tiziano Pramparo and their team have spent the past six years on this specific piece of work.

They scanned the brains and analysed the blood of more than 600 babies and toddlers aged from 12 months to four years.

“People have been looking at individual genes. What we’ve found is that it’s how these genes combine in networks and how these networks disrupt brain growth that is a common pathway in autism.”

Grab Bag Poop Scoop:

I have a friend…. and you will know who you are when you read this… who complained to me that he/she (so sly of me) was plagued with horrible constipation for a few weeks. Pebble poop was the best he/she got, day after day. The normal issues were discussed, and the poor victim had ticked all the boxes:

1. Drinking enough water

2. Eating plenty of fiber

3. Getting regular exercise

Nothing had really changed in their daily routine, except for the lack of meaningful motility.

LK’sGrabBag to the rescue. Here is what I prescribed, which seemed to get things moving… and I have some further tips to share in case this doesn’t work for you, or your friends:

• In a bowl, mix a couple of heaping tablespoons of greek yogurt (organic, please), a couple of tablespoons of tart cherry juice, and a heaping tablespoon of chia seed. Throw in a handful of (organic) blueberries if you want. Mix and enjoy… really tasty.

That little late afternoon snack started moving things in the right direction (pun intended) for my friend.

In addition, let me offer these suggestions:

• Are you getting enough vitamin D? If you don’t take any, you might want to consider doing so, especially if you don’t spend much time in direct sunlight (I hear vampires are terribly constipated 🙂 )

• Perhaps a more powerful version of the yogurt snack above is to soak chia seeds in tart cherry juice until they puff up, then eat them.

Abdominal massage. I forgot to tell my friend about this, and it may be my favorite. Useful for anyone, if you have had any abdominal surgery (and I’ve had a bunch… should have put in a zipper, really), there is bound to be scar tissue, and some of those adhesions may lead to intermittent or chronic constriction of the very-complex abdominal tissues. This is such a great technique to learn, because if you’re constipated in Prague, who the heck knows the Czech word for chia seed? It is extremely effective:

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Grab Bag Righteous Rules:

A few good ones to ponder….

7 Cardinal Rules

Grab Bag Good Tips:

Life hacks to ease your day…

Don’t have icepacks for your cooler? Prep a few of these… so much neater than bags of ice.

Make your own lunchbox icepacks from dollar store sponges soaked in water and put in ziplock bag. When they thaw, the sponge absorbs the water.

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Yet another use for coffee filters… and more effective than a rock:

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Mold can stubbornly reside in grout and caulking sealer in your ever-moist bathroom.

HERE is an easy-to-try tutorial on how to potentially eliminate mold buildup:

BEFORE

AFTER

Want to be a BETTER GOOGLER? Check out this info graphic, which includes some Mac keyboard shortcuts and tips at the end (if you need it bigger, click on the graphic [and once more if it shows as a small version] and it should lead to a larger version for easier viewing):

Better Googling

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Looks kinda stupid…. but I found this one to be SO addictive! Shoot the colored eggs in the right spots to make groups of 3 or more that explode for points. 

Eggz

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Found this to show how that fluffy feline curled up on your couch may be a murderous serial killer….. hilarious and scientifically true:

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Grab Bag Green Machine:

Tossing out some salad tips here… the healthiest salad greens are listed, in order of worthiness.

Click “full screen” icon, lower right corner, to more easily read the slides.

from EverydayHealth.com

Grab Bag Cool Pool:

I’m probably late waking up to this, but I am completely captivated by the thought of Natural Swimming Pools (NSPs), and had no idea it was already so widely done, albeit mostly in Europe. Next time I’m in the market for a pool, or a pool re-do, this is DEFINITELY worth considering.

Natural Swimming Pools, Swim Ponds, whatever you want to call them are a growing phenomenon, and a welcome one at that.

Basics rules are this:

1. Pools have two zones: one deep for swimming, diving and playing, and one shallow for rock filtration and plant life.

2. The water is constantly cleaned and recirculated by means of a pump, pulling water through the natural filter beds, sometimes aided by a UV filter, depending on conditions. A waterfall is often added as a mechanism of reintroducing water back into the pool.

3. Plants in the shallow portion are a must, and establish the bacterial equilibrium needed to achieve clean water.

4. ZERO chemicals are used to keep the water clean. Yes… I said ZERO, nada, zilch chemicals.

5. Natural Swimming Pools can be heated if desired.

6. NSPs can be constructed from scratch or converted from an existing swimming pool.

Below are links for North American natural pool designers/contractors, and a slide show of NSPs from all over the world to provide   inspiration….

Click “full screen” icon, lower right corner, to more easily see the slides.

totalhabitat.com Bonner Springs, Kansas

swimpond.com Vancouver, Canada

bionovanaturalpools.com Rochester, Minnesota

expandinghorizons.biz Vista, California

Grab Bag Wow Moment:

Hilarious mind bender….

Mindbender

Grab Bag Bang-for-Your-Buck:

OK… first to admit it… I have been to the Dollar Tree…. and it is good.

I have scored everything from loads of colorful baskets and tubs for the grandson’s birthday party to everyday drinking glasses for myself.

This blog post clues you in to some of the great finds that you can discover at a dollar store…. and what to stay away from:

Dollar store finds

Grab Bag Re-Veg:

16 Foods That’ll Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps

celery_chopped

By Andy Whiteley

Co- Founder of Wake Up World

Looking for a healthy way to get more from your garden? Like to know your food is free of the pesticides and other nasties that are often sprayed on commercial crops? Re-growing food from your kitchen scraps is a good way to do it!

There’s nothing like eating your own home- grown vegies, and there are heaps of different foods that will re- grow from the scrap pieces that you’d normally throw out or put into your compost bin.

It’s fun. And very simple … if you know how to do it.

Just remember … the quality of the “parent” vegetable scrap will help to determine the quality of the re-growth. So, wherever possible, I recommend buying local organic produce, so you know your re-grown plants are fresh, healthy and free of chemical and genetic meddling.

Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions and Fennel

You can either use the white root end of a vegetable that you have already cut, or buy a handful of new vegetables to use specifically for growing.

Simply place the white root end in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position. I keep mine in the kitchen window. The green leafy part of the plant will continue to shoot. When it’s time to cook, just snip off what you need from the green growth and leave the white root end in water to keep growing. Freshen up the water each week or so, and you’ll never have to buy them again.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass grows just like any other grass. To propagate it, place the root end (after you’ve cut the rest off) in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position.

Within a week or so, new growth will start to appear. Transplant your lemongrass into a pot and leave it in a sunny outdoor position. You can harvest your lemongrass when the stalks reach around a foot tall – just cut off what you need and leave the plant to keep growing.

Celery, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage

Similar to leeks, these vegetables will re-grow from the white root end. Cut the stalks off as you normally would, and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water – enough to cover the roots but not the top of your cutting. Place it in a sunny window position, occasionally spraying your cutting with water to keep the top moist.

After a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. After a week or so, transplant it into soil with just the leaves showing above the level of the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head.

Alternatively you can plant your cutting directly into soil (without starting the process in water) but you will need to keep the soil very moist for the first week until the new shoots start to appear. 

Ginger

Ginger is very easy to re-grow. Simply plant a spare piece of ginger rhizome (the thick knobbly bit you cook with) in potting soil with the newest (ie. smallest) buds facing upward. Ginger enjoys filtered, not direct, sunlight in a warm moist environment.

Before long it will start to grow new shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, roots and all. Remove a piece of the rhizome, and re-plant it to repeat the process.

Ginger also makes a very attractive house-plant, so if you don’t use a lot of ginger in your cooking you can still enjoy the lovely plant between harvests.

Potatoes

Re-growing potatoes is a great way to avoid waste, as you can re-grow potatoes from any old potato that has ‘eyes’ growing on it. Pick a potato that has robust eyes, and cut it into pieces around 2 inches square, ensuring each piece has at least one or two eyes. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry and callous over. This prevents the potato piece from rotting after you plant it, ensuring that the new shoots get the maximum nutrition from each potato piece.

Potato plants enjoy a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to turn compost through your soil before you plant them. Plant your potato pieces around 8 inches deep with the eye facing upward, and cover it with around 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil. If your plant really takes off, mound more soil around the base of the plant to help support its growth.

Garlic

You can re-grow a plant from just a single clove – just plant it, root-end down, in a warm position with plenty of direct sunlight. The garlic will root itself and produce new shoots. Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all its energy into producing a tasty big garlic bulb. And like ginger, you can repeat the process with your new bulb.

Onions

Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.

As you use your home-grown onions, keep re-planting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never need to buy onions again.

Sweet Potatoes

When planted, sweet potato will produce eye-shoots much like a potato. Bury all or part of a sweet potato under a thin layer of soil in a moist sunny location. New shoots will start to appear through the soil in a week or so. Once the shoots reach around four inches in height, remove them and re-plant them, allowing about 12 inches space between each plant. It will take around 4 months for your sweet potatoes to be ready. In the meantime, keep an eye out for slugs… they love sweet potatoes.

To propagate sweet potatoes, it is essential to use an organic source since most commercial growers spray their sweet potatoes to prevent them from shooting.

Mushroom

Mushrooms can be propagated from cuttings, but they’re one of the more difficult vegies to re-grow. They enjoy warm humidity and nutrient-rich soil, but have to compete with other fungus for survival in that environment. Although it is not their preferred climate, cooler environments give mushrooms a better chance of winning the race against other fungi.

Prepare a mix of soil and compost in a pot (not in the ground) so your re-growth is portable and you can control the temperature of your mushroom. I have found most success with a warm filtered light during the day and a cool temperature at night. Just remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in the soil, leaving just the top exposed. In the right conditions, the base will grow a whole new head. (In my experience, you’ll know fairly quickly if your mushroom has taken to the soil as it will either start to grow or start to rot in the first few days).

Pineapple

To re-grow pineapples, you need to remove the green leafy piece at the top and ensure that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife (otherwise it will rot after planting and may kill your plant). Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch base at the bottom of the stalk.

Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first, reducing to weekly watering once the plant is established. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take around 2-3 years before you are eating your own home-grown pineapples.

And one for the kids….. ‘Pet’ Carrot Tops!!

I call this a ‘pet’ because the plant that re-grows from planting a carrot top will NOT produce edible carrots, only a new carrot plant. The vegetable itself is a taproot which can’t re-grow once it has been removed from the plant. But it makes an attractive flowering plant for the kitchen, and they’re easy and lots of fun to grow…. for kids of all ages!

Cut the top off your carrot, leaving about an inch of vegetable at the root. Stick toothpicks into the sides of the carrot stump and balance it in a glass or jar. Fill the glass with water so that the level reaches the bottom of the cutting. Leave the glass in filtered, not direct, sunlight and ensure water is topped up to keep the bottom of your cutting wet. You’ll see roots sprout in a few days, and you can transplant your ‘pet’ carrot into soil after a week or so.

Your success re-growing lovely fresh vegies from scrap may vary, depending on your climate, the season, soil quality and sunlight available in your home or garden. And some vegies just propagate easier than others do. In my experience, a bit of trial and error is required, so don’t be afraid to do some experimenting. Get your hands dirty. It’s lots of fun! And there’s nothing like eating your own home-grown vegies.

Grab Bag New-Kid-On-The-(sun)Block:

A local California company has just introduced what looks to be a natural, clean and effective sunblock. I’ve been using Avasol for the past month or so and I must say I like it.

I am using both the stick ($15, free shipping) and the the cream ($29, free shipping). Click on the pictures to link to the site.

stick-L cream-L

Grab Bag Brain Game:

I think we’ve done this before, but it has been a long time, and this bears repeating. A couple of different ways, this puzzle asks you to look at a layered, complex image and identify the individual images that comprise the total.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 12.20.37 PM

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Grab Bag Conversation Consideration:

So last week’s post about end-of-life choices must have hit a chord, as I got some valuable feedback. It strikes me that this is a discussion we, collectively, are not having often enough. And, to be fair, as individuals we probably don’t have to experience this issue very often… probably with our parents, maybe a sibling or spouse, but when the process is behind us, few, if any, want to rehash it enough to change where the system failed us and our departed loved one. We just want to get on with living…. until we ourselves end up in the hospital, at the end of our lives, with our loved ones facing agonizing decisions within a system that offers technological possibilities but no ethical advisory. And the circle of hand-wringing, unintended consequences perpetuates.

But there is a a groundswell movement that hopes to change the system. A non-profit effort to educate both the general public as well as the medical community has produced a lauded documentary called “Consider the Conversation. Some PBS markets have aired this documentary and will do so through the end of this year. The DVD is available for purchase, the profits of which support the education effort. Read what this reviewer had to say on The Huffington Post:

Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal put their hearts into this film, and it shows. Michael came to the hospice movement after his mother’s decline and death showed him how far from a healthy, authentic relationship with mortality the medical profession, and the nation, are. Terry’s fifth documentary, this film includes interviews with his brother, Peter, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 53. Michael and Terry have given us a great gift.

Consider the Conversation

Grab Bag Fix-It Fix:

10 Fix-It tips from This Old House that will have you strutting your fix-it mojo in no time…

Be sure to click the full screen button, lower right corner, so you can easily read the slides.

Grab Bag Clean Out:

The 10 Commandments for cleaning out your stuff:

De-Clutter

Grab Bag Oil Slick Tricks:

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Reader Susan R. asked for some tips on getting oil stains out of linens and clothing. I found the following suggestions to try… all of which will probably work much better if the piece of fabric in question has not gone through the dryer, as heat tends to set stains, but worth a try at any time, nonetheless. Most probably work best from the back side of the fabric.

Goof Off, followed by an overnight soaking in OxyClean, then laundering in hot water with Tide with Bleach. “It’s amazing how much stuff that combination can get out.”

• Combine 1 tablespoon glycerin, 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap, 8 tablespoons of water. Work the solution into grease adn oil stains. Let sit a few minutes, flush with water and launder as usual.

Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover to remove greasy spots on clothes, then launder in the hottest water for fabric type, using a long wash cycle and adding 1/4 cup of washing soda along with your detergent.

• Spray with WD-40 lubricant and wait 10 minutes. Work in undiluted dishwashing liquid and launder as usual.

Go-Jo Waterless Hand Cleaner can be worked into the spot, then launder as usual.

And from the GODDESS herself, Martha Stewart’s take on getting rid of oil (mostly olive, I assume) stains on clothing:

1. Cover stain with corn starch and let sit for 20 minutes. Brush off with a soft-bristled toothbrush or similar.

2. Make a 5% Orvus paste and water solution in a spray bottle (find Orvus in tack stores… horse people use it… or quilting stores… quilters use it…or Amazon, etc.). Turn cloth over, place on a white cloth, and spray solution from the back. Spray with solution and tamp well to remove. If it improves, continue with Orvus solution, rinse with clear water after 2-3 attempts. If stain looks lifted, wash in COLD water (unlike tips above).

Click on the image below to print Martha’s Stain Removal Guide.

Picture-3

Grab Bag Summer Snack Attack:

Snack Attack

Smart snacking is truly half the success of healthful eating. Summer is so often a time when we grab a few fries here, a few chips there, and soon those little choices make big differences. Here is a great list of healthy snack ideas… the secret is having these things readily available before you reach for a package of poor choices.

1. 1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes (can mix these with one serving size of crackers to make a great filling afternoon snack!)

2.  Small Green Salad with light dressing (suggested serving size is about a handful of lettuce. Try a light vinaigrette dressing.  Try to stay away from the creamy thick dressings. Those carry the most calories)

3. Mango smoothie (frozen mango, mango Greek Yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, and a small amount of orange juice or any other juice that you like.  Try to use no more than one serving size of juice and make sure that it is 100% fruit juice)

4. Kabobs (thread low-fat meat, low-fat cheese, pineapple and cherry tomatoes onto a stick.  You can always substitute other fruit/veggie options)

5.one slice of WHOLE WHEAT bread topped with peanut butter and banana slices (make sure it is whole wheat bread. this is one of the best options when consuming bread products)

5. Grilled Pineapple (throw them on the grill or a skillet on med. heat for two minutes or until golden. The best option for these is the whole round cuts and not the chuncks)

6. Baked Apples (one tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender.  You can also cut the apple into desired sizes and sprinkle the toppings onto the slices. Makes for a less messy version)

7. Strawberries dipped in fat-free Cool Whip (suggested serving size is 1 to 2 cups of strawberries and 2 tablespoons of the Cool Whip) (Note from LK: I would pass on the polyester whipped cream and go with something more natural).

8. Low-fat tortilla (or whole wheat tortilla) topped with egg salad, shredded carrots and cucumber slices (you can also top is with egg whites, feta cheese, cottage cheese, or any other type of low fat topping that you like)

9. Parfait (build your own with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, fruit, and granola.  Make sure to not use to much granola! some granola can pack a lot of sugar)

10. Bowl of bran flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk and berries

11. Guacamole with you choice of veggies (suggested serving size is 1/4 cup of guacamole)

10. Triscuit’s Thin Crisps dipped in cottage cheese or hummus (this is MY personal favorite afternoon snack. i spread low fat laughing cow Swiss cheese on my crisps which is also just as good!)

11. Cashews (suggested serving size is 1 ounce. It is also good to mix this in with cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, or anything else)

12. Pretzels (suggested serving size is about 17 pretzels)

13. Sun Chips (don’t forget portion control! Read the serving amount on the side of the bag but it is usually about 1 ounce which is usually about a handful of chips)

14. Cheesy Breaded Tomatoes (Two roasted plum tomatoes sliced and topped with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese)

15. Sugar Snap Peas (a great snack if you sprinkle your own spices on it.  If you dip it into a veggie dip make sure it is low in calories and stick to the portion size)

16. Steamed Veggies (steam non-starchy vegetables in a microwave safe bag and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup pasta sauce)

17. Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges ( you can spread this on crackers, veggies, or even fruit)

18. Snack/Granola bar (around 150 calories or less, like Kellogg’s All-Bran, Kashi TLC Trail Mix, or Fiber one Bar)

19. Baked chips (about 7-10) with salsa (you can make your OWN healthier version of baked chips by toasting whole wheat tortillas! Check out THIS post for the recipe)

20. Protein Bar (great snack after your workout.  Make sure to get a bar with low sugar.  Be careful to get a bar that is also tasty.  Some bars do not taste very well and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.)

21. Sweet Potato Fries (one light-bulb sized sweet potato sliced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and baked at 400° for 10 minutes)

22. Snack Wrap (I like a slice of turkey, Swiss cheese, baby spinach leaves, and cranberry relish wrapped up in a tortilla)

23. Pumpkin Seeds (2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, sprayed with oil (just a spritz!) and baked at for 400° for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle a tiny amount of salt on top)

24. Bean Salad (a handful of lettuce, 1/2 cup of your fav beans, top with feta cheese or some other topping makes the perfect pre-lunch snack!)

25. Peaches and Cottage Cheese

26. Chopped Red, Green, or Yellow Peppers (dipped in fat free dipping sauce or sprinkle with spices for a lower calorie snack)

27. Tuna with Triscuit crackers (yes DRY tuna is a great option but i always like to add a little relish or mustard to give it more of a taste)

28. Cooked and Cubed Chicken Breast (you can season it or toss it into a salad for a great snack or healthy meal option!)

29. Homemade Popsicles (puree watermelon, strawberries, mango, banana, etc and freeze in popsicle molds or use your ice cube tray as an alternative.  You can also use small disposable cups and peel off the cup and enjoy the frozen treat!)

30. Quesadilla (whole wheat (or corn) tortillas w/cheese (or not) melted in microwave – adding on tomatoes, beans, corn, olives, avocado or guacamole or whatever sounds good. This can be a great snack or a great meal option depending on how much you add to the quesadilla!)

from InfiniteLifeFitness.com

As a bonus, here is a lunch idea that I LOVE…. Apple sammies!

Looks like these have nut butter, carob or chocolate chips and granola filling.

My personal fav is thick-ish slices of apple with almond or peanut butter, flax and pumpkin seeds and cinnamon filling:

2535_apple_sandwiches

Grab Bag Brain Game:

It’s all about the fewest number of clicks… so this game of memory tests your recall of image and placement:

Concentration

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Fixed Sink

Spell House

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Grab Bag Cradle to Grave:

il_fullxfull.362602814_18vc

Image credit: Gloriana

The expectation of birth brings planning and parties and preparing our readiness for the impending event.

truffle-wraapers-party-beige-and-white

At the other end of the circle of life we are encouraged to write a will, which helps to clarify how we wish our earthly possessions to move on without us. But what about our own end? Our physical passing from this living existence?

As Judy McDonald points out here, saying “I want to die at home” is not a plan. There are myriad questions and issues that can and will arise in our final phase, and if we choose to ignore those considerations, our potential for trapping ourselves and our loved ones in a spiral of needless pain and sorrow is very real.

Below is Judy’s brief TED talk on dying well. May she inspire us all to plan our exits as meticulously as our entrances.

Judy provides a very simple website with basic worksheets that help build a viable plan to follow.

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Grab Bag Awesome Moment:

Another compilation of People Are Awesome… and they are, aren’t they?

PeopleAwesome

Grab Bag Power Play:

Many thanks to Suzanne C., a Stanford Cardinal herself, who shared this with me….. powerful stuff 🙂

There is actually a body language of power, and we know it, but we know it so well that we don’t knowthat we know it. It’s something that we’ve been learning through our socialization since a very, very young age.”

When going into a stressful situation, we think a lot about what we’re going to say. But according to Deborah Gruenfeld, professor of leadership and organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and codirector of the Executive Program for Women Leaders, we should be thinking less about what we’ll say, and more about how we’ll say it — through body language.

Power Play

Grab Bag Chem-Free Oven Cleanse:

Oven cleaner ranks right up there near the top of the Toxic Chemical list. Here’s an alternative that gets great reviews:

How to Clean Your Oven Without Chemicals

“Ingredients”

  • 1 Spray Bottle
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup White Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Razor Blade Tool

Directions:

1.  Mix water and vinegar together in the spray bottle. Spray this mixture all over your oven door and/or the inside of your oven.

2.  Sprinkle a thick layer of the Sea Salt evenly over this mixture.

3. Sprinkle a thick layer of the Baking Soda over the salt.

4. Spray the vinegar/water mixture over the salt and baking soda until it forms a paste. Note: you should begin to hear the vinegar and baking soda working together at this point. Now. Let it sit.

5.  Then, using a scouring pad, scrub with a little man power until you start to see the crud coming off. Once you have scrubbed all that you want, get out your razor and, making sure that the mixture stays very wet, gently scrape off any remaining crud. 

Personally, I might just move straight to the razor blade first and see what it does.

Retractable Razor

ovendirtyOvenClean

Grab Bag Mosquito Magic:

It’s summer. You’re loving being in the outdoors, and the mosquitos are loving you being there, too. Review these tips to better your chances of avoiding the bites that take a bite out of summer fun:

Mosquito Tips

Grab Bag Brain Game:

A few different versions are offered here to challenge your focus and concentration. In this one, you are shown a single symbol first, then must find it in the grid in 20 seconds or less.

Private Eye

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

330bce04c35f22345b9d802c8e90b471 4bbd8094869e1299ef535022e6eacb0d df1aacf8542076bba795c3255c65b704 b932bea7cd8cb2a26a4b4b3e97a9b5b4 af26831d742dcc9ebcd08f47e8c5d874 7a4c40e28b678f14c6daa4eea9bf7bad

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

happy-fathers-day-dancing-b

Grab Bag Shop Stop:

… I was hoping to get this post out this morning… but some still might need an idea or two…

It’s Father’s Day….. as in TODAY….and you forgot to get the man something. It’s not too late.

I thought up a few ideas I might do if I hadn’t already sent him an awesome DVD, but that’s me…. this year…. unlike many previous years…. when I did space out…… so here we go:

Canvas Prints

1. Find/take/print some frame-worthy photos, print the home page of any one of the Photo-to-Canvas sites, wrap them together in a box and inform him that he can choose which photo and what size and shape canvas he would like, and you will order it up for him… because, ya know, you wanted to make sure he got it JUST the way HE wanted it. 🙂

hearts-gift-coupon

2. Print up your own gift certificate for some shared experience to do together; dinner out, a round of golf, a trip to the Reagan library (which I hear is A-MAZ-ING and not to be missed… who knew?) or some other local-to-him destination, and wrap it up in a box.

unbroken-cover_custom-s6-c30

3. Print the cover image of a book you will buy him (it’s been ordered, and is on it’s way, right?) and wrap it up in a box.

opening-day-on-the-bay

4. Tell him you are keeping your gift a surprise, because spontaneity is the spice of life. Let him know that you will be giving him 24 hours head notice in the near future, and that you will pick him up and take him to do something special. This buys you a few days to put some plan into action.

softball_image

5. Organize a softball game for this afternoon with a few other families. This will grow over the years to an all-day tournament with 8 teams, 100+ players and over 200 attendees. You will not be expected to provide any other gifts. Trust me on this one. 🙂

Grab Bag Pillow Talk:

Not as sexy as it sounds.

As a matter of fact, it’s something probably 99% of us don’t do (I know I haven’t ever done this 😳…. but only because I didn’t really know I could). So I’m gonna try it.

IT is …. washing your pillows. Found this on a great blog called CleanMySpace.com.

Clean Your Pillows

Grab Bag Recipe Righteousness:

Feeling a bit guilty when you slog white flour, sugar and butter into a bowl? Here are a number of substitutions, along with where they work best:

Recipe Subs057251ac8

Grab Bag Business Brilliance:

I registered with a very cool website called Quora.com. Quora poses intriguing questions and members submit answers. All members can vote on which answers they like the best. Some of them get you thinking which, I assume, is the point.

For instance….. a recent question was: 

“What’s the shrewdest, smartest maneuver you’ve ever seen in business?”

One of the answers I include below. Most are a good read (read ’em here). Many have something you can learn.

Back in the 1970s, liquid hand soap was sold by one guy: Robert Taylor, and his small company, Minnetonka.  It was his invention, and he knew he was on to something big. Test  audiences loved the product and, despite barely having enough resources  to do so, Minnetonka decided to go all in and make a push to take the product nationwide.
There was only one problem: Nothing he was selling could be patented.  The concept of liquid soap wasn’t new, and simple pumps had been around  since the dawn of civilization. As a result, Taylor knew several huge  soap manufacturers were ready to happily steal his idea the very moment  it looked like it could succeed on a large scale. Armed with superior  resources and the ability to quickly R&D an imitation product, the  industry giants were ready to crush tiny Minnetonka.
Taylor, however, was ready for this. Before any other company had the  chance, Taylor decided to go shopping one day and bought a few plastic  pumps. And by a few we mean FUCKING ALL OF THEM. There were only two  companies nationwide manufacturing those little pumps, and Taylor ponied  up $12 million — more than the total net worth of his company at the  time — and ordered 100 million of them,  effectively buying every single pump these two companies would be able  to manufacture for the next year or two. 

Unknown

Anyway, without the part required to dispense the soap, there was  nothing the major companies could do but sit and watch Taylor slowly own the entire market. His product would become known as SoftSoap. Two years after his little stunt, Colgate-Palmolive  would be forced to just buy SoftSoap from Taylor … for $61 million.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Put yourself through these short games and see “how old” your brain is:

BrainAge Games

Grab Bag Funny Father’s Day Stuff:

dad-children-favorite-fathers-day-ecards-someecards dad-thanks-struggling-fathers-day-ecard-someecards d7c4c01f4712d774e5115c067d69dff4a4 dad-6 family-business-dad-boss-job-fathers-day-ecards-someecards fathers-day-war-oil-spill-recession-economy happy-little-fathers-day-ecard-someecards dad-3 fact-obama-fathers-day-ecard-someecards fathers-day-soccer-football-world-cup-fifa

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Grab Bag Cancer Lancer:

OMG!!   A peer-reviewed study published on a cancer-fighting strategy that can’t be patented and produced by BIG PHARMA???

Study

I’m pretty stoked about this…study was led by Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, principal investigator in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. It studied mice with late-stage, metastatic cancer. The studied therapy was a combo of…. are ya ready?… a ketogenic diet (high fat, adequate protein, low-carb) plus hyperbaric oxygen. The control mice got the hyperbaric oxygen as well, but were fed a standard, high-carb diet.

The difference? The ketogenic diet mice lived 78% longer than the high-carb mice.

A report on the published study can be read here at ScienceDaily.com. And God Bless Thomas Seyfried…

The research, funded by a charitable donation from Scivation, was inspired by the research of Professor Thomas Seyfried of Boston College. Dr. Seyfried has advanced the theory that cancer is a metabolic disease, inspiring the development of metabolic strategies to treat and prevent cancer.

After all, cancer is not a foreign body to be slashed and burned to oblivion. It is from us, of us. It IS us. My suspicion is that the metabolic approach, should it continue to prove out, will unlock a cavalcade of answers… as well as questions.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if it all boiled down to….

You-are-what-you-eat1

?

Grab Bag Secret Site:

There’s a wonderful saying that goes like this: “Think twice before you burden a friend with a secret”.

Well, kudos Frank Warren, the man who started a website called PostSecret.com. There, people share their “burdensome” bits, and probably feel a lot better.

Paris2 bed dogtext bullies

Here is Frank, explaining the success, in many different ways, of PostSecret.com:

PostSecret.com

Grab Bag Heart Expander:

Dash cameras in Russia capture the most endearing sides of human nature.

Inspiring, no? Let’s do it. Next time we see help needed, let’s all step up, and then be grateful for the opportunity.

Humanity

Grab Bag Painter Trainer:

I just thought this was clever and a good look for a couple of hours of work. Could also be really pretty on a cream table with gold stenciling, aqua with white… the possibilities are pretty endless:

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 10.03.45 PM

Grab Bag Joy Jolt:

Bowl Full of Cherries

10 Life-Enhancing Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less

By Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

It usually takes us much longer to change our moods than we’d like it to take. Here are ten things you can do in ten minutes or less that will have a positive emotional effect on you and those you love.

1.    Watch “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. See it online at Oprah.com. This is a deeply moving segment that may be the best ten minutes you’ve ever invested in front of a computer.

2.    Spend a little while watching the sunset with your mate. Nothing extra is necessary. Just sit and take in the natural beauty of the sky and appreciate being able to share it with the one you love.

3.    Sit quietly by yourself. It doesn’t really matter where or when. Just let your feelings bubble up and then experience the thoughts flowing out of your mind. Clearing your head and heart will give you extra energy to get through the rest of the day.

4.    Write a thank you note to your mate. When was the last time you thanked your partner for just being who he or she is and being with you? Doing this in writing will give your partner something to cherish for the rest of his or her life.

5.    Take out your oldest family photo album and look through it. The experience will fill you with fond memories and perhaps make you a bit wistful for days gone by.

6.    Play with a child. Most kids have short attention spans; ten minutes of quality time from a loving adult can make their day. It will also help you stay in touch with the child inside of you.

7.    Visualize or imagine a positive outcome for any issue. Medical doctors recommend visualization to patients with chronic and potentially fatal illnesses. If it can help them, it can do the same for you.

8.    Go to bed with the one you love ten minutes earlier than usual. Then spend that time just holding each other. Let the feeling of warmth from your mate move through you.

9.    Hang out by some water. Studies show that hospital patients who can see a natural body of water from their beds get better at a 30 percent faster rate. If you’re not near the coast or a lake, try taking a bath. Doing so is also healing.

10.  Get your body moving. Shake, twist, and jump around. Let yourself feel the joy of moving to your favorite music, or just the sounds in your head. Run, walk, and bike to your hearts content. You will live longer and love it more.

Sadly, many people measure happiness by how long the experience lasts. The truth is that a few minutes of joy here and there can make a big difference in what you get out of life.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Powers of observation are sharpened here, at SpotTheDifference.com:

Spot the Difference

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

The very human expressions that can be found in the inhuman around us…

1. Sad Faucet

Image credits: adme.ru

2. Happy Headlights

Image credits: imgur

3. Drunk Washing Machine

Image credits: bart

4. Grizzly Bear

Image credits: inimini

5. Grumpy Train

Image credits: imgur

6. Iggy Pop: Sad Torso is Sad

Image credits: imgur

7. World’s Happiest Airplane

Image credits: imgur

8. Smiling Cheese Grater

Image credits: PDGalvin

9. Red Jacket Zipper Fish

Image credits: raumoberbayern

10. Drunk Octopus Wants to Fight

Image credits: artandesignews.com

11. Church Chicken

Image credits: imgur

12. Happy Chair

Image credits: dei-hedgehog

13. They Know What They’re Going to be Used For

Image credits: imgur

14. : P

Image credits: imgur

15. Giggling Roof

Image credits: Dr. Jaus

16. My Car Can’t Believe It

Image credits: imgur

17. Angry Mop

Image credits: imgur

18. OMG Wall

Image credits: eworm

19. Pleased Pots

Image credits: knowyourmeme.com

20. Angry Clock

Image credits: the-nicest-pictures.blogspot.com

21. Happy Little Scooter-Frog

Image credits: imgur

22. Evil Boxes

Image credits: Barbara Dunkelman

23. Evil Rose

Image credits: sadanduseless

24. House With Personality

Image credits: mandragor.de

25. Amazed Car Bumper

via: imgur

26. Happy Ceiling

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