Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wrapping Up Summer with a Fabulous Upcycled Jewelry Giveaway!



The Wrapping Up Summer Giveaway Hop is hosted by MamatheFox.com

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for my honest review.

I admit it -- I love jewelry. And there are a few things that make me love certain jewelry more than others:
  • Jewelry that's gifted to me. There's just something special about jewelry that has been carefully selected just for me.
  • Jewelry with a history. Before my mom died, she gave me the platinum eternity band she always wore. It was given to her by my dad's mom, but it wasn't her ring. We suspect it was my grandfather's late wife's wedding ring. She died in childbirth (as did the child) and he later married my grandmother. My mom wore the ring for so many years that it reshaped into an oval instead of a circle. I treasure this ring. I also have a 3-diamond ring that was my aunt Helen's. She received it on her 16th birthday in 1933 and gave it to me when I was in my 20s. There are other family heirlooms that I cherish.
  • Fair trade jewelry that, when purchased, helps someone provide for their family. What can be better than that? I love buying my fair trade jewelry at The Shepherd's Door in Bellevue, PA, right down the street from where I now work.
  • Upcycled jewelry, crafted from recycled materials. 
It's the latter I want to tell you about today. I discovered some amazing jewelry and accessories designed by Laura ZABO and I'm so excited to introduce you to them. 

The Gator Gray Bicycle Tire Belt
Laura creates beautiful items from used tires. I received a sturdy belt from her. It was made from a bicycle tire. Not taking my weight loss into account, I ordered a belt that was simply too big for me. But altering it was fairly easy. My husband just used scissors to clip a couple of inches off the end and a drill of some kind to poke an extra hole or two. It was a bit more difficult that using an ice pick on leather, but it worked and I love my belt.

Okay, so that's the belt. Let's get back to the jewelry. Laura sent me a pair of earrings that I absolutely adore! Strips from upcycled black inner tubes strung onto hoop earrings adorned with tiny beads. Oh yeah.

Upcycled Inner Tube Earrings

You know you want some of these, right? They're flirty and fringed and fabulous. I love the way they feel brushing against my collarbone. And to be honest, they make me forget I'm 60! Almost.


Laura ZABO is a London-based eco-designer who creates environmentally-friendly, vegan fashion accessories made entirely out of scrap bicycle tires and inner tubes rescued from a future in the landfill.

"Drawing on my own life experiences and lifestyle choices I have created an innovative and diverse range of belts, jewelry, handbags, clothing, sandals, guitar straps, home decor, and dog accessories," explains Laura. "The collection is constantly growing. As we use more and more bicycles every day, in turn we are using more and more tires every day, creating an increasing amount of waste to pollute our planet with. My collection offers a great solution to this problem, transforming this "waste" into something useful and sustainable."

You can see for yourself how unique and stunning her collection truly is by visiting her website.

Now here's the part you're really going to get excited about -- Laura is offering a set of upcycled jewelry valued at $81 USD to someone in the GG community! How cool is that?! Just enter below on the Rafflecopter and a winner will be chosen via Random.org on September 1st. How's that for a great way to celebrate the new school year? Keep it for yourself or share it with your teenager, who is sure to make an impression wearing these! 

Curlywurly Upcycled Inner Tube Necklace, Earrings, and Bracelet Set

Giveaway is open to 18+ Worldwide! Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway 


MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Road Less Traveled -- Taking the time to get to know each other, despite our differences

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the battle that goes on between people just because they are different. I'm heartsick over the events in Charlottesville this past weekend. I can't even wrap my head around the mentality and the evil demonstrated there.

This past June, I was on the faculty for St. David's Christian Writers Conference at Grove City College. While there, I met a lovely young woman who wrote the following essay about being "different." Sierra graciously agreed to let me share it here on the blog.




The Road Less Traveled

We all have differences. Mine comes with four wheels and a sunroof. But it’s not a MINI Cooper or a Mercedes Benz. It’s a power wheelchair.

During my high school years, I learned that there were two possible roads people could take when dealing with this obvious difference. I was either a target of bullying or I was someone worth getting to know.

The second road was the road less traveled. Why? Because it took more effort. It was easier for my peers to single me out and attempt to make me feel bad about myself, than it was for them to deal with the discomfort they felt when confronted with an evident difference. It required more time and thought to hold a conversation with me than it did to call me names or kick the wheels of my chair.

I’m not the only person with a visible difference and I wasn’t the first, nor was I the last to be a victim of bullying. A short while ago, I read a news story about an 11-year-old girl who hung herself because of bullying.

But adults are not immune to bullying either. If the road less traveled were taken more often, we’d realize that we have more in common than not, and the world would be a much better place. However, in order for this road to become more traveled, we must set an example. So you’ll find me and my difference rolling down the road less traveled.

* * *


Sierra is a freelance editor, writer, and blogger. Her personal writing tends to be informed by her Christian faith and living life with Cerebral Palsy. She has a B.A. in Biblical and Religious Studies and an M.A. in Communication concentrating in professional writing. When she's not editing, writing or blogging, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching Pittsburgh Steelers football, and reading. You can find her at www.sierrashipton.com and www.facebook.com/writingonwheels

Friday, August 4, 2017

TGIVF! Another set of vinegar tips

It's Vinegar Friday once again. How did that happen. It really seems like just two weeks ago I was writing about vinegar and the beach. Wow the months go quickly! To think I used to have the time to write this feature weekly! That seems like a lifetime ago.

But enough about my perception of time. You're here for a vinegar tip or two, right?

So here are some my favorites from my book:


  • I realize that not everyone can afford to buy organic sheets for their family. That's why this tip is so important! Chances are good that your sheets are coated in chemicals, such as formaldehyde to keep the sheets from wrinkling. Make sure you toss all new linens in a rinse cycle (at the very least) with a cup of DWV (distilled white vinegar). This will help eliminate the chemical residue. To be safe, rinse and repeat! Maybe a few times. Then, make sure you don't toss the clean laundry into the dryer with some toxic dryer sheets! Yikes!!
  • With the election behind us (and that's all I'll say about it), it might be time to remove those candidate support bumper stickers. Even if you didn't put any on your car, imagine the embarrassment of buying a used car that touts support of a candidate you weren't/aren't particularly fond of. Am I putting that too mildly? Don't despair! Just grab your DWV and drench a cloth in it. Cover the sticker for a couple of hours. It should peel right off.
  • Do you suffer from acid reflux? I took Nexium for an ulcer for years until I learned this trick. But wait. I hear your protests. You're not going to suggest taking something acidy like apple cider vinegar when your stomach is already burning up? Why yes, yes I am. The unfortunate fact is hydrochloric acid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach and the traditional approach to dealing with this condition is to take acid reducing drugs. That's especially bad news for pregnant woman. However, I found that taking a tablespoon of organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 8 - 10 oz. of water worked for me. This is a safe alternative to taking prescription or OTC meds for many. While we assume that it's an excess of stomach acid that causes acid reflux, the reality is it is a lack of acid in the stomach, which results in a fermentation of undigested foods. By adding some ACV, you help to cleanse your system and prevent the heartburn and pain. Please note, I am not a medical professional. The upswing of that is that there are no insurance companies dictating what I say or do and no pharmaceutical companies padding my pockets. 
  • Ever have a sprain or strained muscle? Soak a cloth in some warm ACV, wring it out, and wrap it around the injured area. Leave it on for 3 - 5 minutes and repeat as needed. Adding a dash of cayenne pepper to the vinegar will bump up the relief a notch or two. NOTE: Do not do this to broken skin!! OUCH!!
Those are my tips for the month. I hope you found you found something useful that will help you live a more toxin-free life.

Keeping it green and healthy with vinegar,


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Serving Up Elder Care with a Side of Kindness





Watching our parents age is rough. And there always seems to be decisions that have to be made. As their physical and/or cognitive abilities start to fail, the questions arise: 


Should we sell the house? 
Should they go to a nursing home? 
Is assisted living the best option? 
Should they move in with us?

The questions swirl in your mind throughout the day and rob you of sleep at night. After all, Mom's taken care of you all of your life. Dad taught you how to drive. Grandpap told you stories. Grandma held you on her lap and made you feel safe. What happens when they need you? Who will make them feel safe?

Sometimes, the answers are clear. There simply isn't another option other than placing your loved one into a facility where they'll receive proper care. But for many, this is only one option, not the only one. Multi-generational living is common in many other countries, more so than in the United States, but it is gaining ground here. The "sandwich generation" is raising children and caring for their parents or grandparents under one roof. But, while the rewards are countless, it's still not easy. Sometimes you need a break. A bit of respite. Perhaps a date night with your spouse once a week. But what do you do with Grandma?


Often, our parents have trouble letting go of their homes. They've spent 50+ years there and they swear they're going to die there. That's their wish. And you don't want to break their hearts. At the same time, moving back home is not an option and you're fearful of something happening when they're all alone in an empty house. Burners are left on. Falls happen and no one knows. There's a mix-up with medications. These things happen. All.the.time.


Did you know there are non-medical in-home care companies that exist just for these reasons? In Pittsburgh, there is a company called Dignity Home Care Professionals. Their tagline is "Where kindness matters" because that's at the heart of the company. Treating their clients with kindness and dignity as they face this final chapter in their lives is what it's all about. 

Whether you need regular full-time or part-time care for your loved one or you need an occasional break or a night out, the fully trained caregivers at Dignity Home Care Professionals can make all the difference. Really. They can. 

What better gift can you give to those who gave you the gift of life than to offer them loving care through a company that strives to serve this greatest generation in a manner it deserves -- compassion, loyalty, understanding, patience, dignity, and kindness. And what better gift can you give yourself than the peace of mind it will bring?

Caring for you and the seniors in your life,


Groupon Coupons?! Yes, please

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this post.




I love a good mystery. I also love saving money.
So when I discovered Groupon's MYSTERY DEAL at JCPenney, I was all about it! I clicked the Groupon coupon link and discovered 5 mystery deals. How could I pass up 50% off $40? I jumped on it and found out I could save a whopping 65% if I spent $100 or more. Now I wasn't planning on spending $100, but for $35? Hmmmm. This Groupon Coupon site might be addictive! And the best part is, unlike with the other type of Groupons, there is no money needed upfront. In other words, you don't pay for these coupons. They're free for the taking!

The thing is, I gave you a link to just one of the retailers offering Groupon Coupons. There are over 100 more!! Here are just a few: 

  • Home Depot
  • VistaPrint (that's the company I rely on for business printing needs -- many a Green Grandma logo has appeared around town and beyond, thanks to VistaPrint!) 
  • Ancestry.com
  • Macy's
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Hotels.com
  • Rosatto Stone
  • Zip Car
  • Tractor Supply
  • Hello Fresh (I've not ordered from them yet, but with the great Groupon Coupons, I just might. Anyone have an opinion about them? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the company.)

See! There's something for everyone. Even Amazon has Groupon Coupons. You really need to check out this site. And then enjoy your savings. I know I am!

Happy shopping (and saving!),




Friday, July 7, 2017

Heading to the beach? Don't forget the vinegar!

TGIVF (Thank God it's Vinegar Friday... for those of you who are new to this page)!

This month we're talking beach vacations. Who's heading out to the beach this summer? If you are, don't forget to take a jug (or bottle) of vinegar. Why? Keep reading.


4 Reasons Why Vinegar is Summer's 
MUST-HAVE Accessory!

1. Swimmer's Ear

No one wants to spend their summer vacation up all night with a crying baby or toddler. But that's just what you might be looking at if your kiddo ends up with swimmer's ear from too many dunks in the oceanside swimming pool. Moisture gets trapped in the ear canal, along with bacteria, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. Make sure you have an eyedropper in your cosmetic bag, just in case. Here's where you'll need some apple cider vinegar. The acidity in the ACV will work at preventing growth of the bacteria and will relieve some of the pain. Just apply it, undiluted. If you forgot the eyedropper, simply soak a cotton ball in the ACV and put a small piece directly into the ear.

Better yet -- prevent the problem altogether by gently dabbing a mixture of distilled white vinegar and rubbing alcohol (1:1 ratio) into the ears before the family hits the water.

2. Jellyfish sting

Okay, we all hope this doesn't happen. But the truth is, it does. And when it does, it's painful. Whether it happens to you or to someone else in your family, you'll be grateful you followed my advice to have a jug of DWV on hand. And I do mean on hand, not back at the room. Why? Because timing is everything here and you don't want to waste any.

When those nasty jellyfish tentacles slap or brush into an unsuspecting leg or torso, you want to work quickly to stop the venom from releasing anymore toxins under the skin. Grab the jug of vinegar and POUR it over the affected area. This will not only stop the spread of toxins, but will also relieve some of the itching, burning, and throbbing caused by the sting.



3. Skin irritants

Let's face it. Sand and sand bugs can cause some serious skin irritations. Ease the itch with diluted vinegar (DWV or ACV). The acidic liquid neutralizes the irritant and calms the itch. Ahhh.





4. Sunburn

Sure. We all like to think we're too smart to get a sunburn. But despite our best efforts, it still happens at times. If, as the sunsets and the sky darkens, you find out a family member's skin is darkening too (or should I say "brightening" as in bright red?!), everyone will be happy you remembered to bring the vinegar. Fill the tub with cool-to-lukewarm water and add 2 cups of either ACV or DWV and settle in for a soak, covering as much of the sunburned skin as possible for 15 minutes or so. 

You can also soak some washcloths (or towels, depending on how much skin you have to cover!) with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water) and apply them to the watermelon red skin. 

According to Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, author of Irresistible You, when a sunburn occurs, "blood vessels in the skin dilate, triggering an inflammatory reaction. That damage causes pain and blistering." Vinegar's antiseptic properties address both the pain and the inflammation, soothing and healing the burn.

Again, prevention is the best course of action. But make sure the sunscreen you use is safe and effective. Click here for a list of the Environmental Working Groups' 19 best sunscreens for babies and kids.


There you have it. Four reasons why vinegar is your best summer accessory for the beach. Of course, you can read more of my vinegar tips in my book, Vinegar Fridays, now on sale for just $6.99. Click here to order.

Keeping it green with vinegar,












Saturday, July 1, 2017

Jeepers (it's Christmas) in July Giveaway!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this review.




Welcome to the Jeepers in July Giveaway!


Thank you to our host: MamatheFox.com and co-hosts: 

I also want to thank the folks at SKINourishment for their long-time support of Green Grandma and for sponsoring this awesome giveaway! SKINourishment is a 20-year-old skincare company created by aromatherapist and Easter medicine practitioner Polly Glasse. Their best known products include the climbOn and crossFIXE brands, popular among well-known athletes and everyday natural-minded sports enthusiasts (of which, I admit, I am not one). But, I love the products and have sung their praise throughout the years. And I'm not stopping now!



I received their new line of skin products -- POLYN® skin care -- made using 100% plant-based ingredients, and let me tell you, I love them. So much so, that when I ran out recently, I went online and ordered more. They've got a great deal going on right now, which I'll let you in on in a bit. First I want to tell you why I love this line.




Starting with the Invigorating Face Wash, which makes my 60-year-old dry, dry skin feel amazing! The fresh scent does, indeed, invigorate the senses. 





I follow up by dabbing a small amount of the Cooling Under Eye Serum underneath my eyes, along the dark circles and across the puffy bags that have accompanied my countenance for decades. While the circles and puffiness have not disappeared (I'm telling you, it's hopeless!), they have decreased dramatically, particularly the circles. And you only need the tiniest amount -- just a small drop. Seriously.




Finally, I squirt a few drops of the Regenerative Face Serum onto my palm and spread it across my face and neck. The result is satiny smooth skin. I do this before I go to bed and for the first time in years, I'm not waking up with sandpapery skin. 



Glasse combines aromatherapeutic formulations in these products, providing "therapy in a bottle™."

The bottles themselves are something special as well. Aside from the Face Wash, the other products come in beautiful MIRON glass bottles from Switzerland. The deep purple/black glass prevents light from getting in and compromising the food-grade ingredients. My only disappointment was that they didn't come with caps to use after the product was gone and I no longer needed the pump. I'd love to reuse these beautiful bottles with a twist-on cap.

All of the POLYN skin care products are Certified 100% Vegan and Gluten free. And none of them contain any GMOs (take that, Monsanto!). All ingredients are disclosed on their packaging and there are no synthetic ingredients. PLUS, they are certified Cruelty Free by PETA. 

Seriously, what's not to love about this line?



And, if you enter, you just might win the Essential 3 Face Line with an added bonus! Bought separately, the 3 products are valued at $93.97, plus the $11.95 Illuminating Face Oil. Remember the deal I mentioned earlier? Well, if you act relatively fast, you can snatch up this set of 4 products for a mere $39.95 through their exclusive TV Special. Just click here for details.

Even if you decide to buy a set while the special is good, you can still enter to win. There's nothing wrong with having back-up product for when you need it. And this would make a great gift for anyone concerned with what they're putting on their skin.

Enter below via the Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open to US only, 18 and older. NOTE: Winner has 48 hours to reply to congratulatory email before an alternate winner is chosen.

Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's better than Ollie's Blocks? Ollie's Blocks at 20% off!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received product and/or compensation in exchange for my honest review.



When I received my box of Ollie's Blocks, I knew the grandkids were going to love them. And they did... right from the start. At first, I took them to my daughter's house for her two older girls. But now I'm taking them back. Mean ol' granny! The thing is, I want to keep them at my house for when any of the grandkids are visiting. I have to keep a close eye on the younger two, since there are small parts that could be swallowed, but the older three can play and invent to their heart's content. And let me tell you, they'll play for hours with Ollie's Blocks. There's just so much to create with them. The possibilities are endless! Think Legos meets Lincoln Logs. 




Ollie's Blocks are handmade in Israel out of high quality oak. The pegs are made from safe, durable plastic. Building with them is reminiscent of earlier eras when children explored their creativity down on the floor with blocks rather than having electronic devices lead them away from truly creative play. That's probably what I love most about them.


There are 100 pieces in each set and they come in a sturdy plastic carrying case. My rule: play with the Ollie's Blocks only. When you're done, put them back in the box before dragging out other toys. That way, all 100 pieces will be readily available each and every time they want to play with them.


Truth be told, adults love playing with them, too. 



The original toys were created many years ago for an old wooden toy company. The adult children of the creator resurrected them and, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, were launched as Ollie's Blocks, named after the owners' daughter, Olivia.

Your kids and grandkids will love them. I'm 99% sure of that. And thanks to a generous promo code, you can buy them on Amazon at 20% off the retail price. Just click here to purchase and use the code: OLIBLK20 at check out. 



Let me know what you think once your kit arrives. After all, you'll have plenty of time to kick off your shoes, grab a beverage of choice and shoot off a quick message to me. Your kids will be occupied for many hours. Whatever will you do with all your free time?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Time for a Giveaway! Teespring to the rescue!

Disclosure: I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post.


Hey everyone. It's been awhile since you've heard from me. So I thought I'd reenter the blogosphere with a giveaway. Sound good?

The thing is, there's this great website called Teespring with some awesome environmentally-themed designs. One of their designers reached out to me a while back and asked me if I'd like to sample some products. Of course, after checking them out, I was happy to do so. 



As a photographer, Heather Jepsen created some designs using a shot of the ocean she'd taken while in Grand Cayman. She sent me a super-comfy hoodie featuring one of these designs. While it's way too warm to be sporting the sweatshirt right now, I am looking forward to wearing it in the fall to advertise my love of this amazing planet of ours. 


In addition to the hoodie, I also received a green mug (appropriate, don't you think?) that reminds me of one of my favorite, life-changing phrases: Don't sweat the small stuff. How often I need that daily reminder with my morning cup of coffee!

Now let's get to the giveaway part! There will be two winners of this one because there are two prizes. The first is a grey t-shirt (size 3XL) that features a ocean-themed peace sign.



And the second is a deep heather tank top (size 2XL) with the Love, Water theme.



Isn't the ocean photo fabulous? Oh, and Heather assures me that these sizes run small.

In addition to the giveaway, all Green Grandma followers are entitled to a 20% off deal on everything through June 20. So jump on it! There are some great products and if you act fast, you'll save $$$ when you order. Just click this link here to activate your savings.

And please follow Heather on FB, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

Enter the giveaway below. Must be 18 or older. USA only.

Good luck!







Winners must respond to emails within 48 hours before alternate winners will be chosen. Green Grandma is not responsible for prize fulfillment but will do everything she can to ensure the prizes are delivered in a timely matter. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The influence of a mother

My mother holding me many, many years ago.

"The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry..."
~Billy Graham


Monday, May 8, 2017

Cardinals and your health. What is the connection?

I love cardinals. There's nothing like looking out of the window and seeing a splash or two of red in the trees and bushes. It's especially stunning when the yard is blanketed in snow. Stunning!

Thanks, katmystiry for the lovely photo!

But aside from their beauty, did you know that having cardinals in your yard is actually healthy, too? Seriously. A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, noted that cardinals are good for our health.

The findings are related to a study at Emory University in Atlanta where there are fewer cases of  people infected with the West Nile virus than in other cities with similar demographics. What's the difference? Cardinals. 

The West Nile virus shows up in approximately 30% of birds in Atlanta. In Chicago, the number is lower at 18.5%. But throughout the state of Illinois, there have been 2,088 cases of West Nile in humans since 2002. In Georgia during that same period, the number drops to only 330 cases. 

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus feed on robins and other birds, which then spreads to people. However, the opposite happens when they feed on cardinals. For some reason, after feeding on cardinals, the virus is suppressed.

Moral of the story: provide an ideal habitat for cardinals and your chances of contracting West Nile virus drop dramatically. Cardinals like to nest in dense thickets. Make sure you provide fresh water for them and grow native plants. Of course, you want to avoid insecticides, since many birds, including cardinals, depend on insects as their main source of food, protein, and fats.

By welcoming cardinals into your yard, you're adding a bit of protection against a nasty virus. Now sit back and enjoy the view!

I'd love to see your own photos of cardinals in your yards. Feel free to add them to the Green Grandma FB page!

Have a safe and happy May!




Friday, May 5, 2017

Vinegar Friday -- It's time to break out the summer clothing

TGIVF!!

We started out our spring Vinegar Fridays with a guest post by Jeriann Watkins Ireland. She's joining us again this month to discuss how apple cider vinegar can help with conditions like varicose veins.


It’s almost summer, and that means it’s time for shorts, skirts, and other skin-exposing clothing. If you’ve got skin conditions like eczema, warts, spider veins, or varicose veins, sometimes wearing warm-weather clothing seems daunting.

I’ve always had pretty visible veins, especially when I’m cold. Sometimes, I don’t even feel cold and I look down and my hands are purple. My dad had the same issue and I’ve never given it much thought -- just chalked it up to bad circulation.

One major concern when it comes to circulation is veins, particularly varicose veins. Varicose veins are blue, twisted veins that can be seen through the skin. These veins have damaged valves that result in them holding more blood at higher pressure than normal. This can cause leg pain, swollen ankles, aching, cramping, itching, restless legs, and even venous ulcers. For some people, varicose veins are simply an aesthetic inconvenience, making warm weather attire less appealing. Others suffer severe pain due to the venous insufficiencies that cause varicose veins.

Luckily, venous insufficiency doesn’t have to be permanent. Below I’m going to talk about the different causes of venous insufficiency and how Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can combat the root cause of varicose veins in each situation.

Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, the presence of the fetus puts pressure on the uterus. This can cause blood flow issues in the surrounding veins. Hormonal changes also weaken the vein walls and cause valves to stop functioning properly. This causes blood that’s supposed to circulate back to the heart to get stuck in pools, usually in the legs.

Luckily, our good friend ACV boosts the body’s ability to produce hormones and balance levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Apple Cider Vinegar also offers other benefits to pregnant bodies, such as helping with indigestion and encouraging balanced levels of bacteria in the microbiome of both the mother and the developing baby. Drinking a shot of ACV in the mornings can help regulate hormones and digestive function throughout the day.

Obesity
Being overweight can cause increased blood pressure, which can damage valve function and prevent blood from moving up toward the heart. Regular ACV consumption is known to help with both weight loss and blood pressure management. It helps with weight loss by balancing bacteria and flushing fats out of the body. It helps with blood pressure by getting rid of bad cholesterol.

Of course, like any weight loss strategy (or health strategy in general), consistency is important. 2 TBSP a day of ACV is recommended in order to see results. Adding ACV to salad dressings is a great way to eat healthy and manage blood pressure and weight at the same time. You can also make a warm tonic each morning with ACV, local honey, and lemon juice. You can also add water to this mixture to dilute the strong flavors. Without water, it’s more of a “shot. With water, it can be a morning beverage to sip on. Drinking warm lemon water in the mornings is recommended as a detoxifying method, so mixing it with ACV helps boost those effects. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you’ve ever had blood clots or other vein conditions, you’re much more likely to experience varicose veins. Luckily, we already know ACV helps blood flow, so combining it with other ingredients that aid circulation can help prevent blood clots. Try putting some turmeric or cayenne pepper in your daily shot of ACV. These are both natural blood thinners. Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory, so if you’re already experiencing pain due to venous insufficiency, it can help calm things down.

Lack of Movement/Prolonged Crossed Legs
ACV won’t help you move more, but I like to combine my wellness strategies through awareness. If I’m sitting at my home office with my legs up on my yoga ball (which is horrible for circulation), and my legs start to go numb, I use the moment to do something healthy. This might be as simple as stretching and drinking a glass of water. If I haven’t had any ACV yet, I might take a moment to mix up a shot with honey, turmeric, ginger, or other healthy ingredients, based on what my health focus is that day. So while I go up the stairs or wait for water to heat up, I make sure to move as much as possible. This helps combat the negative effects on my body from sitting all day.

Do you have issues with varicose or spider veins? Have you found other strategies to manage or prevent them? Share in the comments!



Monday, May 1, 2017

And his name is Heroin

Photo courtesy of George Hodan

"I took her to rehab," he told me. "But then her mother got her out."

I knew this man only in passing... we'd smile at each other and say hello. But yesterday, we shared a bond when he let me know Julia* was gone. Our eyes shed the same tears -- wistful, stinging, bitter. I will never forget that moment.

Julia (*not her actual name) was my husband's and my favorite waitress. She always, always greeted us with a smile that lit up the room. She was kind, enthusiastic, and energetic. Julia knew how to make you feel welcomed in her presence. When I work late, my husband occasionally waits for me at the restaurant where she worked. On slower nights, they'd chat. Bill got to know her better than I did and started looking at her as another (older) grandchild.

"Did you see Julia today?" he'd ask when I'd arrive home from work. And for the past few weeks, I always said, "No." He wondered if she'd found another job. Yesterday, he found the answer to his question.

You see, while Julia appeared to us to be a gracious young woman with an infectious smile and a bright future ahead of her, she had a dark side we knew nothing about.

"She died a few weeks ago," the chef said in response to Bill's inquiry. I saw the look on his face and approached, not ready to hear the words. 

"Julia died," Bill said, disbelief crossing his face like a knife dulled from too much abuse. I looked from his tear-filled eyes to the eyes of the chef and I knew it to be true. 

"What... how?" I stammered. In my heart, I already knew.

"She O.D.ed," he said, his voice cold and hollow like a waiting tomb.

I felt weak and sat, my own tears now burning my eyes. Not Julia. No, not Julia.

This morning, as I drove to work, the heaviness of it all crowded out all other thoughts. I wept as I drove; words filling my mind. I knew they'd have to spill out onto the screen before I could properly function today. So here they are. My too late words to a blossoming flower with such a sweet scent, brought down by the glyphosate of this generation -- heroin. Oh, Julia. If only I'd known. Could I have done/said anything to have stopped this? That is the question haunting far too many loved ones of the victims of this insidious curse. Too many parents wondering. I am angry at/feel sorry for her own mother who, like all parents, wanted what was best for her 25-year-old daughter. She just didn't realize that Julia truly needed to be in rehab.

When I was in my 20s, heroin was something you heard about from the ghettos. "Junkies," we'd called them and thought little else about them. Heroin was not the destroyer in suburban American neighborhoods. It happened to other people. It wasn't in our schools, our playgrounds, next door. 

Last week, a mother and father were found passed out in the front seat of their car with their children in the back. They'd been shooting up heroin. And they were driving a Mercedes Benz.

What the heck is happening? How can so many of our promising and brilliant and once-happy young people be choosing this drug over their families, their friends, their children? Children in our community are being orphaned by heroin. What?? What?? 

Today, my heart is broken. I feel helpless against the evil one. His name is heroin. And I hate him.

Hana

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