air pollution

Over the past few decades, we’ve learned a lot about how the quality of the air that we breathe in affects our lungs and the rest of our body. While long considered to be a safe haven from the harmful pollutants found outdoors in some of the nation’s biggest cities, it’s recently been discovered that the air in our homes are equally as polluted as – if not more so than – the smog and haze in major metro areas.

But while there are a ton of great solutions out there – everything from cleaning more thoroughly to remove dust and heavier parties, to finding the best air purifier for smoke to clear out gasses as well – most people suffer through day to day life living with poor air quality. And this leads to multiple different, more serious health issues.

If we haven’t convinced you yet about the important of clean air in your home, here are a few other reasons that you should keep in mind:

Tired of Getting Sick?

If you find yourself getting sick often – more often than you’re used to – it may be the air quality in your home that’s dragging you down. Especially if you notice that most of your symptoms are related to your respiratory system. Ready to stay healthier, longer? Maintain high levels of air quality and you should see an improvement in no time.

What About Your Children and Pets?

You aren’t the only one who has to live with all of the pollutants in your home’s air. When there’s a problem, but your children and your pets are also subjected to the contaminants. Even worse, both of these groups are typically closer to the ground than we are, meaning that they’re breathing in the worst of the worst. To keep things safe for your kids and animals, make sure to vacuum extra well to remove any dust and particles trapped in your carpet.

Time for More Energy

Do you find yourself tired all of the time? When we aren’t breathing in good oxygen, our lungs don’t have the power to keep us active and energetic. By reducing the amount of pollution that your body is absorbing you’re able to boost your energy levels and see a big different in your ability to run and stay active for longer periods of time.

Thing About the Long-Term Benefits

Sometimes you need to just sit back and look at the big picture. Over the long-term, you’re going to experience much lower doctor’s bills and less money spent on over-the-counter breathing solutions. You’re also going to be happier and all around in a better mood. Even if you don’t notice, poor air quality can put a real damper on your life in more ways than one. Live long and healthy by keeping your home clean.

At the end of the day, cleaning up the air in your home should be one of your biggest priorities. That’s because there’s nothing more important than our bodies and we should be doing everything we can to keep them in good working order.

lbi

If there is one thing I’ve learned about New Yorkers, it’s that they want to get the hell out of New York. Maybe not forever, but with sunny beaches just a couple of hours away in New Jersey and the Hamptons, who among us can resist the urge to pack up and roll out to the suburbs for a weekend or two? Not I of course!

Going Down

People often say that there’s nothing better than having a beach house, except for having a friend with one. In my case, it’s my uncle who resides on Long Beach Island in New Jersey who provided me with a much needed place to crash for the weekend. So I headed up to the bus station and grabbed a ticket. The bus ride is $31 round trip and takes about 1.5 hours each way, but to go the distance you really need a car. Fortunately I got picked up from the bus station by my uncle and an hour later we were on the Island!

Having Fun on the Island

There are lots of ways to have fun on LBI, but the most obvious one is right in the name, the beach. The island is approximately 18 miles long, and almost every inch of the sea side is covered in sandy beaches. Lifeguards supervise until 5pm and make you wear a beach badge, but after that, it’s all open sand and surf. So go ahead and play paddle ball, take a walk, or a little dip by moonlight if that’s your fancy.

There’s still more on the bay side, with sailing, motor-boating, water-skiing and jet-skiing available for rentals as short as an hour or as long as a full day if you’d like. I wouldn’t recommend bay side swimming however, as the beaches on this side of the island are sometimes slimy with silt and seaweed, and often host considerable numbers of horseshoe crabs.

If the water isn’t really your thing though, the island still has plenty to offer, including a cool little amusement park called Fantasy Island, complete with a giant ferris wheel, bumper cars, funnel cakes and an arcade with skeeball (oh yes, it really is the Jersey Shore). Right next door to that is a giant waterslide and an 18-hole mini-golf course, one of many on the island.

How I Spent My Time

Drinking at the Sea Shell Hotel right on the beach, sunbathing and reading on the sea side sands, swimming in the still chilly coastal waters, eating pizza and assorted Italian meats and cheeses, playing shuffle board, and enjoying the company of a beautiful girl.

The Bottom Line

While this was perhaps my best weekend of the entire summer thus far, there are several key barriers to overcome in getting here. First, you need a car to get onto the island, and second, you need a place to stay, and with the booming tourist industry, this will be neither cheap, nor easy unless you already know someone with a place here. If you can manage the trip however, you won’t regret it. Go ahead and splurge (you’ll have to, since the island is somewhat expensive) and enjoy everything LBI has to offer, including great seafood, beaches, bars, and even some good old fashioned family fun.

gardens

Where the Old World and New World Grow Together

Looking for a great place to take your entire family? If you happen to be on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, you need to make sure that you check out the Elizabethan Gardens. In addition to the sites constant garden exhibitions, there’s also always some great traveling exhibits and shows to watch in their indoor air-conditioned theatre. Just remember to bring your kanken backpack stocked with waters to avoid paying on site!

A few of the highlights of Elizabethan Gardens include:

  • A Living Classroom for the Entire Family
  • Vibrant horticultural displays
  • Renaissance Statuary
  • Beautiful views of Roanoke Sound
  • Activities, workshops and demonstrations
  • Gift shop featuring
    • Home and garden décor, books, puppets & games
    • A wide variety of herbs, perennials and flowering shrubs

Don’t miss our Family Fun Summer Series in our air-conditioned theatre!

The Diary of Adam and Eve – Tuesdays, July 8 – August 12

While parents and teens enjoy The Diary of Adam and Eve, a one-act play from the Broadway musical The Apple Tree, younger family members can enjoy a concurrent program, A Snake in the Grass.  Children will go on a fun-filled exploration where they will discover The Elizabethan Gardens as they investigate and solve a funny mystery.

Based on a short story by Mark Twain and set to words and music by the team of Harnick and Bock who created Fiddler on the Roof, this light comedy is the perfect story for a garden setting.  The Apple Tree is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) and performed in partnership with Elizabeth R and Co.

Wild Wednesdays – June 11 – August 13

Wild Wednesdays are hosted by Jeff Lewis, a long-time employee of The Elizabethan Gardens, is well known for his nature photographs.  Recognized as one of the best amateur ornithologists on The Outer Banks, Lewis picked up a camera several years ago to document sightings of rare birds.  Lewis will be showing and describing stunning photographs in his weekly programs.  Topics include: birds and fauna, predators and butterflies of The Elizabethan Gardens.

Discovery Thursdays – June 12 – August 14

Discovery Thursdays include unique and interactive activities that families will enjoy together.  Age appropriate table top projects include postcard leaf rubbings, woodland collages, rose petal bracelets and making sundials.  These and other activities will use fun lessons in nature to help gain further understanding and appreciation of The Elizabethan Gardens.

All Family Fun activities are at 2:30pm.  Programs are free with paid admission to The Gardens and made possible in part through support from Dominion Power.

Open year ‘round on Roanoke Island

Located within Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

Beside Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre.

252.473.3234

www.elizabethangardens.org

nails

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” – Nope, our mothers are always right (damn them), but there are certainly ways of getting a cheaper lunch, as long as you know where to look!

Let’s face it, we all love buying beauty products (well, we hope you do since you’re reading this!), but we have to admit that sometimes we really hate paying the full price, because come on, these days spending any money sends a lot of us into an economic depression. This inevitably means that a large majority of us are drawn to signs screaming “Special Offer“, “Sale” and “3 for the Price of 2” like moths to a bright light!

Come on, admit that the big “Special Offer” logo on the left is what really drew you into reading more of this post!!

Well, that’s what we’re here for (for today, anyway…y’know, the day after that England vs. USA match…!) nail art is no use without a brilliant regular polish underneath, so we’ve been scouring the internet for some fantabulous offers!

Psychologies Magazine Subscribers to this mind-examining monthly magazine can join the Psychologies Club which entitles members to money off various things, including 15% off products by Nails Inc. So, if you’ve tried out the limited edition Diet Coke nail polishes from Nails Inc., and enjoy discovering why you do what you do, there is lots to gain out of a subscription. And, if you subscribe before the 7th July 2010, you’ll also receive $32 worth of Melvita skincare products…yay, for the free stuff!

Essentials Magazine The current issue of the Beauty and Well-Being Magazine, boasts a spectacular offer of 20% off all OPI products, purchased through the Lena White website. Considering how expensive OPI lacquers can potentially be, the $2.70 magazine price is most definitely worth the 20% off at OPI. Trust us! And with collections inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Shrek and the World Cup on offer, it’s guaranteed that you’ll find something you’ll want!

Plus, if you subscribe to the magazine, for just $1.66 a month, you will receive a Free BarryM Gift Set, worth over $30 that includes two pretty nail polishes: Berry Ice Cream and Pink Flamingo…ooh!

Rimmel London Check out the Rimmel London website, for your chance to win a free full-size sample of one of their brand spanking new 60 Second Nail Polishes. All you have to do is join (or login, if you’re already a member), answer a few easy questions about yourself and then decide which shade you’d like. This of course, is not quite so easy! Available colors are: Purple Reign, Blue My Mind, Sky High, Coral Crush and Grey Matter.

Boots Head over to the Boots website to take full advantage of their current 3 for 2 offer on Selected Make Up and No.7 Products, which thankfully also includes a huge variety of nail polishes, from lots of big and small brand, including: 17, Rimmel, Ruby and Millie, BarryM and many, many more! This is definitely a brilliant opportunity to really update your nail varnish collection, by grabbing three of this year’s colors…whoop!

Superdrug Superdrug are currently offering savings on a range of Rimmel products, including on their collection of nail polishes. Previously priced at $3.49, their entire range will now cost you a mere $2.49 each…fantastic!

Other offers at Superdrug include:

  • 2 Revlon Nail Enamels for $8 (priced at $6.29 each).
  • 2 Gosh Nail Lacquers for $8 (priced at $5 each).

If you find any more nail offers that you think everyone might want to know about, then please let us know, so that everyone can enjoy their nails.

top model

During the beginning of this episode of America’s Next Top Model, we jump right on in with Laura talking about her dead friend and how he had given her a stuffed animal. That’s right. You know where this is going. Sophie takes it and after a struggle, the ear gets ripped off. SOMEBODY drops the ear in the pool. It didn’t look like Sophie, and I can’t check the ep again because my fiancé already deleted it.  Anyway, Kyle pushes the ear further into the pool. What a bunch of jerks! Laura thinks so too. However, I think it’s a little suspect. I know there’s no way Laura hasn’t told anyone about this stuffed animal and its sentimental value, especially since she’s been going on about her friend’s death for a couple of  episodes now.

Well, after commercial, Laura hates Kyle’s guts because she pushed the ear further. But Kyle explains to the audience that she was simply trying to get the ear out of the pool, but was unsuccessful. That makes more sense, but I’m not sure she conveyed that to anyone in the house.

Moving on, in walks Lisa Haggardly D’amato to announce that the girls will be doing music videos for this week’s challenge. DOTH MY EARS DECEIVE ME?? Did Lisa say she won that music video challenge in Cycle 17? Ummm… Hello? Allison??

Lisa also says Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud will be mentoring the British girls, and Jessica Sutta from the Pussycat Dolls will be mentoring the Americans. There was another Virgin Mobile shameless plug. Every episode they are pimping these phones. I am happy with my disappearing iMessages and iPhone thank you very much, Tyra.

The next day the girls go to the music studio to “sing” their songs. The Brits are called “Fiercely British” and the Americans are called “United Sirens of America”. I get it, but boy is United Sirens of America lame. I liked Sophie’s idea of calling the group “Sophie and the Others”. Also, does Annaliese look like Scary Spice to anyone else besides me? Anyone?

The US girls sounded soooo bad. Azmarie was singing high-pitched, and someone couldn’t sing at all (I forget who, as I erased that wretchedness from my mind as fast as possible). Seymone also had a booshie (I have no idea how to spell that) moment when she said that ’Ain’t’ is not a part of her vernacular. Whatever

“I SAID JUICY TOOCH NOT HOOCHIE TOOCH!”

NEXT! The girls head to a dance studio where they meet Tyra. Today she’s going to teach the girls to booty tooch properly. But before she can do that, everyone has to put on some shorts with butt pads. What? Azmarie is like, this shhhh is cray cray Tyra! So Tyra makes her leave. Azmarie, I don’t blame you because what I’m about to recap is kind of embarrassing. Tyra starts spouting out all this crazy lingo like ‘Nooch to the Hoochie Tooch!’ Smoochie Tooch! Dookie Tooch! Goochie Tooch! I wish I was making this up. Juicy Tooch! Poochie Tooch!

Anyway, the next day the girls record their videos. The Brits video was called ‘We Will Mash You Up”. The Americans was called “Stop Drop and Tooch”. The Brits were in sync, and overall did a good job. The Americans had a little bit of problems. Kyle’s eyes were stuck at a permanent deer in the head lights position and she was awful at the dance steps. And Mr. Jay thought Azmarie was too cocky.

Fiercely British

At panel the videos played out. I thought the US girls’ video was lame. Eboni was overdoing it and it just wasn’t as exciting as the Brits. Plus I’m still singing the Brit’s song and I finished watching the episode 30 minutes ago. Kelly Cutrone’s favorite words this week were ‘nasty’ and ‘dirty’. Also, I still think she’s gross. My fiance was like ‘I don’t like that Maven lady!!’ Even though she wasn’t really mean this week, she still has a way of sucking all the energy out of the room. Also what she said about Azmarie, “Boaster, coaster, we should toast her.” She’s so witty.

Alisha gets first call out, then the rest of the Brits are called. An American is going home.

And the spoilers were right. Azmarie is sent packing. My fiance was upset. But the moral of the story is, don’t cross Tyra. You better booty tooch until you can tooch no more. Forget being photogenic and walking in runway shows. If you don’t tooch, you’re gone.

Tooch your heart out

Next week, more Kyle hate. This is getting old.

garmin nuvi 205w

After several family members moved, we realized road trips were inevitable. My husband and I both have older vehicles because we have learned to buy with cash. Since our vehicles have no navigational devices, we needed to purchase a portable GPS. It had to be a device that was affordable and simple to use. The Garmin Nuvi 205W 4.2 inch widescreen portable GPS navigator (a mouthful to say 🙂 ) definitely took us there.

The Basics About the Garmin Nuvi 205W

Believe it or not, my husband is just starting to learn to use computers and cell phones. He is from another generation and was resistant to technology. Now he is realizing the benefits of modern electronics but they need to have ease of operation for this novice. The Garmin Nuvi 205W portable GPS navigator was a breeze for both of us to use with absolutely no learning curve.

We were also pleased the navigator costs under $80. It offers the features we want without confusing and unnecessary extras. Turn-by-turn directions helped us get through the mountains and winding roads of the country once we left our familiar suburbs.

With a family member living close to Canada, we were concerned about what could happen if we got lost. But this GPS navigator has optional maps for Canada and regional sections of Europe as well as for the contiguous United States. It also have optional MSN® Direct services to keep you informed wherever you travel.

The touch screen lets you enter a destination and the Garmin Nuvi takes you there. You can use a turn-by-turn voice option or get 3-D or 2-D maps and smooth map redraw rates to help you navigate strange terrain. Digital elevation maps let us know what to expect as we headed toward the Adirondacks. We also appreciated the POIs (points of interest) so we were prepared for speed zones such as schools.

When my husband is driving, he often forgets to bring his reading glasses. Since he dislikes bifocals, he frequently struggles to read. The widescreen is clear and readable even when he leaves his reading glasses behind. Even in bright light, the screen is sunlight-readable so you can clearly see photos, driving directions and details on the map.

Portability of the Garmin Nuvi 205W

With older vehicles, one might be in the shop while we use the other. We can take the Garmin Nuvi with us in any vehicle. It is slim and sleek enough to slide in his pocket or my handbag. You can even use it when on foot thanks to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It was amazing when we took a short hike during our journey through upstate New York. The kids needed to stretch their legs and we had no fears of getting lost.

As frequent travelers, we wanted a few conveniences along the way that weren’t a hassle to use. The photo navigation let us download Garmin Connect™ Photos to navigate to and a JPEG pic viewer. A calculator helped us figure out tips when we stopped for roadside cuisine. The anti-theft Garmin Lock™ made us less anxious about losing the device. We didn’t go for the optional plug-in microSD™ cards such as travel guides because our family told us about the local attractions. If we were traveling to unknown territory, these would be a great feature to enhance to trip.

The unit in the box includes the Nuvi, preloaded City Navigator® NT data for the lower 48 states, Hawaii and Puerto Rico (no Canada or Alaska detail), quick start manual, vehicle suction cup mount and vehicle power cable.

The Bottom Line About the Garmin Nuvi 205W

The bottom line is the Garmin Nuvi 205W is a handy, portable device that helps you successfully reach your destination. It offers optimum efficiency for under $80 with realistic options for additional maps and travel guides. There are no extra bells and whistles, which minimizes the learning curve for this highly operational navigator. It’s one of the best deals around for a full-featured navigator at an affordable price.