Sunday, April 14, 2013

Laptop Keep Overheating?

I have a mediocre quality laptop and it's getting old.  Living in Florida puts a lot of strain on its already failing ability to cool itself.  I got tired of it shutting down on me.  If you are tired of your laptop overheating and shutting down on you, read and follow these directions:

1.  Take a cold pack and stick it in the freezer.  I happen to have a couple of clay packs that are almost exactly the size of my laptop.

2.  Place your laptop on top of the cold pack to help it stay cool.

That's it, you're done, and that should buy you some time.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  If there is any merit to the thing I've heard about the heat from a laptop lowering a man's sperm count, it is possible that this might also mitigate that situation.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Getting Clothes to Fit Your Hourglass Figure

Assuming that all my lady readers have been working the hourglass figure since I posted on it a few months ago, I might as well address this topic.  It is not easy to find clothes that fit a curvy figure.  The whole point of having this shape is to enjoy a proportionately small waist.  So why settle for unflattering clothing?  If I want to buy something that fits, it seems to involve luck, cost, or both.  That said, there is a cheaper way and you can cheat your way around the luck part too.

I have a sewing machine.  I'm no master at using it but I understand geometry and the way cloth behaves.  That's all you need.

Here's what to do...

1.  Go to discount stores like Ross, TJ Max, Marshalls, etc, or the clearance rack at places like Target.

2.  Start with something simple to fix, like a dress.  Find something you like that is "close enough".

3.  Try it on and make sure that it fits in the bust and hips.  Gather the waist area and look at it in the mirror and be sure that you are happy with the general appearance.

4.  Purchase and return home.

5.  Lay the dress inside out on the floor or carpet.  Most likely you will not be able to get it completey flat so do one seam at a time.  Spread the cloth away from the seam so it is completely flat.  Draw a line freehand  that takes in the waist about the amount you pinched in front of the mirror.  You may have to try on the dress again inside out and mark where that line should start and stop and where it should go in the furthest.

6.  Repeat on the other seam and check to see the lines are identical, mirror image.

7.  Use a simple stitch to sew along those lines, being sure to keep the cloth flat and doubling back over the area you started and finished so the stitching does not come undone.  You should not have to cut off the extra material.  It should lay flat and you will not notice it once the dress is on.

8.  Try it on again in the mirror and admire how it now accentuates your waist and makes you look like the amazing bombshell you are!

Awesome Tip of the Day:  Visit the lingerie section while you're at it.  There are a lot of "chemise" styles that make awesome Saturday night dresses if you trim out the babydoll look.  You can find one for less than $12 and it will look like a $30 dress.  I've had plenty of women in the restroom at bar/clubs ask me where I got my "dress".

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Living Green

This is not my specialty.  It is, however, the specialty of a very good friend of mine who has finally been convinced to start her own blog.  I was asked by a reader if there are any blogs that I read.  THIS IS IT.

She is well educated, very smart, and passionate about the subject.  Ask her a question about sustainable living or environmental anything, and you can trust that she will legitimately research it and give you an honest answer on her findings in words you can understand.  The post about prescription meds was in response to a question I submitted.  Look for the three-eyed fish.

Too Much Clutter in the Home?

Well, I meant to write extensively on how to fix this problem and then, by chance, I stumbled upon another site that has already done a pretty good job, so...

Guilt Free Fruit, Flax and Oat Cobbler

(Click here for more cooking ideas.)

This is how you get to have pie for breakfast!  It is a variation of the Guilt Free Apple Oat Cobbler and it is wonderful freshly baked, cold, or microwaved.  It is not too light but will also not leave you feeling heavy.  In this case, I made one with frozen mixed berries and strawberries from Costco, and one with peaches, pineapple, strawberries and mango from Publix.  They were both awesome.

Fruit, Flax and Oat Cobbler

45 minutes, serves 6

1 cup of dry oats
1/2 cup of almond meal
1/4 cup of ground flax seed
1 quart of frozen fruit
Coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 450.

Pour out your fruit into a 1 quart Pyrex and microwave it for about five minutes.  This will cut down on your baking time and I suggest covering it.

Meanwhile, grease a 9 inch pie pan with coconut oil.  In a separate bowl, mix your oats, almond meal, and flax evenly and add water until you have a mix that will stick together but isn't too soggy (think sand castle).  It should crumble in your hands but you should be able to press it together.  Press the mix into the pie pan to form a crust at the bottom and around the edges.  There will probably be leftover mix so save it to sprinkle over the top of the fruit.

By now, the fruit should be more or less defrosted.  Pour it into your pie crust along with all the juice that goes with it.  The juice and steam are going to cook the oat based crust.  Spread it evenly and sprinkle any leftover crust crumbles on top of the fruit and place it in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Remove and enjoy.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  Oatmeal has a habit of getting cakey if you cook it and let it set.  You are counting on this to be able to cut your cobbler and scoop it without having a delicious crumbly mess, although it will taste the same.  Let it cool off a bit before you cut it.

If you find that this comes out a little dry, consider adding a couple of tablespoons of juice to the fruit mix or covering it with aluminum foil to keep some of the moisture in.

Go nuts!  (I couldn't resist.)  This kind of pie goes well with sliced almonds or chopped walnuts on top.  Top it with yogurt or cream to make it more of a meal.  This is a real guest pleaser if you have health conscious visitors in the house and is not too much effort to make.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Getting That Hourglass Figure

Ah, the hourglass figure. Many women think that they are doomed by genetics to never look curvy and feminine. Although genetics can help determine the degree of curviness a woman can have, the bombshell classic can nevertheless be yours if you are willing to put in the work.

An hourglass figure basically means that you are small in the waist area and proportionately larger in the hips and bust. You can’t do a whole lot (short of surgery) about your bust size. Fortunately, you have a lot more control over the rest than you might think. The standard ideal waist to hip ratio is usually agreed upon to be around .70, just for reference. You can get this number by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Start by finding a flexible measuring tape and wrapping it around the smallest part of your waist. For most women this is well above the belly button (around the inferior angle of the rib cage). The measuring tape should be firmly touching your skin all the way around, level with the floor, and not so tight that it creates any bulging. The hip measurement should be taken in the same way at the fullest part.

Now that we know what an hourglass figure is, how do we get one? Okay, the goal here is to make your waist smaller, which will usually involve burning off some fat, and make your hips and butt larger or at least stay the same, which will usually involve building muscle.


So what makes your waist large? There are many factors:

1. The first and most obvious is excess fat. I’m not big on counting calories, but it is a good idea to do it just once, just to know what you’re really taking in. There are plenty of resources online to help you estimate your calorie intake and most big restaurants and a lot of grocery stores have information posted about the nutrition of their meals and products available for those who are curious. Keep a food journal for a few days just to see what your typical meal plan actually looks like. A lot of people simply eat way more than they need to of foods that provide little nutritional value and don’t realize it. Let’s say I have a recommended 2000 calorie diet. If I kept three meals a day at 500 calories a piece, and saved 500 calories for snacks and drinks, that’s it. See how many meals you eat are actually 500 calories and it may make you reconsider your meal plan. What this should tell you is that you’d better make those 500 calorie meals provide you with enough fuel to keep you going so that you don’t get hungry later.

2. I am not a nutritionist. However, I do know that certain foods seem to affect this belly area differently for different people. While you’re keeping a food journal, you may want to pay attention to what you eat for awhile and measure your waist circumference to find out what does it for you. For me, excess wheat and/or heavy fried foods not only make me feel heavy and unmotivated (so less likely to want to work out), but tend to put fat around the midsection for me. If I minimize my intake of these foods, my waist tends to be slimmer. Things high in sugar don’t seem to do this for me so that isn’t as big a deal. Pay attention to your own body and see what works and doesn’t work for you.

3. Skipping meals. This is something a lot of people do when they’re trying to slim down. All I can say is “don’t”. Three things are likely to happen. The first is that you will be tired and unlikely to want to do any physical activity. The second is that you are likely, when drained, to crave comfort foods. The third is that starving yourself can send your body into (surprise!) starvation mode, which will possibly have you storing up your fat reserves.

4. Sleep and stress. I will address these two together simply because they are related. Stress tends to increase belly fat. Google “cortisol” if you want to learn more about this topic. Lack of sleep tends to do make you tired, hungry and unmotivated. It also tends to increase your stress level. Try to get some sleep and a little down time. It’s good for you anyway.

5. Bloating. This usually related to your menstrual cycle. People tend to be more bloated as their period approaches. Don’t get discouraged if you see no results during this time. You will most likely see them as soon as your period is over. Added benefit of being leaner/more fit is that this often correlates with lighter periods and milder symptoms.

6. In relation to the previous topic, many people actually have backed up bowels they don’t know about. If you think this might be you, try doing a partial liquid diet for a few days and see if it doesn’t help you out. During this time, the blender is your best friend. Keep your solid meals light and easy to digest. If you are unsure about your ability to properly nourish yourself, consult with a specialist.


Now that we’ve discussed getting your waist smaller, it’s time to talk about toning up those hips and buttocks. Take a lesson from Brazilian girls. No really, the Brazilian butt for the most part isn’t any more natural than disproportionately large pectorals and biceps on the gym guy with the skinny legs. I’m sure you’ve seen this guy. If you watch Brazilian girls in the gym, they work almost exclusively the butt and hip area. The result of working these muscles not surprisingly makes them bigger. So there we go, big hips and buttocks. This won’t, however, happen from getting on the elliptical trainer for two hours with no resistance. If you want to make muscles grow in size, it will require some kind of weight bearing activity. There are countless online resources and available personal trainers to teach you how to exercise if it is not your forte. Don’t be afraid to seek advice and try it out and see what works for you.

Awesome Tip of the Day: Notice how I didn’t mention doing hours of abdominal work outs? Remember when we talked about how working muscles makes them bigger? Right. A lot of women make the mistake of overdoing the ab work outs and end up with a flat, square shape instead of a lovely feminine curve. Also, too much abs and not enough back makes for strange posture (see other tip below… )


All of this will help you get what is known as a “pear shape” body. Not everyone is destined for a true hourglass figure as it is limited by breast size. A sad fact of losing weight anyway is watching your breasts get smaller (unless you are already considering a reduction). So how do we make a “pear shape” look like a “peanut shape”? The secret is to work your back and shoulders. By putting some meat on your back and shoulders, it will create what is known as a “V shape” on men. This is because men have a lower waist than women do. For women, it will help balance out the larger bottom side and create the illusion of the hourglass (especially from the back, which is awesome!) and turn your body into the bombshell figure you’ve always wanted.

Second Awesome Tip of the Day: Stand in front of an honest mirror and take a look at your posture. If you see a female Mr. Burns, I’m talking to you. Standing up correctly is not only good for your alignment but it is physically attractive. Even a skinny girl can create a little belly pouch by slouching. Don’t do this to yourself. In addition to contributing to back and shoulder pain, slouching can make you look flimsy and insecure. Standing up straight can make you look firm and confident. That attitude alone is attractive to most people.

All this said, I am a strong believer that insecurity comes from a feeling of helplessness and lack of control in one’s own life. If you are unhappy with your body, or would just like to improve it, know that this is within your power as long as you are willing to put in some work and self-discipline. Start a food and work out log to keep yourself accountable and check in with yourself every week. You can weigh yourself if you want but I suggest taking measurements instead, since the goal is to change shape, not weight. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Many people won’t see a noticeable change within the first month of trying to change their body. You might like taking a picture of yourself in the mirror in your best lingerie every two weeks to track your progress and keep yourself motivated. Feel free to ask questions via email and I will be happy to respond.


One of my readers asked a bunch of good questions about this post so I thought I would just address them for all of you.

1. About the abs, I thought there were some ab muscles that supposedly "cinched" the waist in tighter when they were stronger. Is that not true? Also, where does the core sequence fit in with trying to not work abs to get a smaller midsection?

Yes. Transverse abdominals. They don't have to be super strong, just trained to do their job. The core sequence is done with no resistance and works you evenly. You don't need to do it more than a couple of times per week to stay strong. It becomes more of a low level cardio when you get used to it. It won't bulk you up.

2. About the bottom, what if you have small hips but a big butt? From the front you would look less bell curve, but based on the measurement you might have the .70 ratio. Or should I be measuring around the hips, not butt area?

The measurement factors both hips and butt and you should measure right around the fullest part, parallel to the floor.

3. So making the butt muscles bigger seems pretty easy to me. Lots of running and squats and stuff. But how do you make the hips themselves look wider?

You have muscles on the hips too. I get them from holding kicks out, but I saw the girls in brazil with ankle weights lying on their side doing leg extensions. Similar idea.  Basically, bring your knee up to your chest and then extend your leg so that it is alongside your other leg as it would be if you were standing.  This should look like doing knee raises from a standing position on you are lying on your side without letting your leg rest against your other one.  You can also get on your hands and knees and lift your leg out to the side (think dog watering a mailbox).  I saw some people doing this to develop hip strength for kicking during a cardio kickboxing class.

4. Can you identify a few exercises you think are easiest/best for increasing the shoulders? Push ups?

Push ups are going to help tone and strengthen your pectorals and triceps primarily.  It is good to do these and they help firm and tone your chest and arms.  However, I would suggest working your lats and upper back to create a V shape. Try lat pull-downs and rowing.

5. Back to the abs and core sequence again. Do these exercises strengthen the back as well? My back gets tight after doing them. Does that mean I'm doing them incorrectly?

Yes to the first part. The idea is that they work everything around fairly evenly. Most people will feel it in their backs because they're used to working the front disproportionately.  As your back becomes stronger, you will not notice this as much.  Stretch your back out afterward if you feel like it helps.  It is good to stretch anyway.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On Getting Offended

We all get offended now and then.  It's really unpleasant for the person getting offended and frequently uncomfortable for the offender.  The good news is that much of the responsibility of getting offended, and especially how you deal with it, is in your own hands.  If you find yourself being offended, here are some things you can do about it.

I apologize in advance for all of the generalizations.

The knowing offender.  There are two categories of knowing offenders.  The first is one who is an ***hole.  This person wants to offend you and has found a way.  It is quite likely that you are just as offended by the fact that they are trying to offend you as by what they actually said.  I would suggest giving this person a really sarcastic look, shake your head, and laugh.  That makes it pretty clear that all people present know that whatever they said was stupid and inappropriate.  If that is not enough, end the situation by removing yourself from it.

The other type of knowing offender is someone who feels they need to tell you something important even if they know it will offend you.  This is usually something for your own good, so even if it hurts you, it is a good idea to recognize that this person is probably a better friend than you thought.  It's a good idea to admit to yourself that this person is really trying to help you rather than hurt you and accept it as such.  It is the same idea as someone telling your that there is food in your teeth.  You may not like it.  You may be embarrassed.  However, you are now saved from talking to the cute checker at the grocery store with lunch on display.  Thank you, offensive friend.  I appreciate your bold ways.

The unknowing offender.  There are two kinds of unknowing offenders.  The first is one who is offending you and should really know better.  This is the person who is cracking paraplegic jokes in front of the guy in the wheelchair.  Chances are, he's not trying to be rude.  It's just really difficult to see what's going on around you with a severe case of cranial rectosis.  Take a deep breath and calmly mention to the person, "So you see the wheelchair, right?"  If that isn't enough, and given the situation it may not be, just say, "You're cracking paraplegic jokes in front of the guy in the wheelchair and you should probably stop."  This is normally enough.  If not, just don't encourage it and move on with your life.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  When you feel yourself getting worked up, you are already losing your power of reasoning.  This makes it much more difficult for the other person to explain to you that they meant no offense, and much more difficult for you to believe them.  It is important in that case to remember that you cannot fight your emotion any more than you can fight fire with fire.  You must calm yourself down.  Calming your emotion will help you be more receptive to whether a person really is even trying to offend you or what else they could have meant by what they said or did.  Once you begin to understand what is actually happening in the situation, it will be easier to diffuse it.

The other unknowing offender has just said something that relates to another thing they could not possibly know about.  This is the person who says, "Hey, nice haircut!" and doesn't know that you've been upset all morning because the stylist did the opposite of what you wanted and you hate it.  Getting upset with that person will not help.  Thank them for their kind gesture and move on.  They probably genuinely meant it.  People have different tastes and you can't just assume that they feel the same way about it that you do so they should know that it's terrible.  If you must, just sigh it off and let them know that you wish it was a nice haircut, because you just spent all morning being upset because the stylist did the opposite of what you wanted and you hate it.

The misinterpreted offender.  It is extremely important that you understand that this person did not actually offend you.  There are two situations in which this might occur.  The first is that you actually misheard what the person said.  They said one thing, you heard another.  It's as simple as that and you must admit that to yourself and to that person.

Awesome Tip #2:  While you're calming yourself down, try to think very clearly and rationally about one important question... "Why would this person say this to me?"  Can't believe it?  Don't.  Unless this person hates you or is otherwise trying to hurt you, chances are they actually did not say whatever it was or at least did not mean it that way.  Why would your best friend tell you you're too ugly to go out wearing that?  Well, they didn't.  Try to go back and think about the actual words that they said and try to take them at face value, without reading into them.

The second situation is that you heard what the person said, but misread what was meant.  For example, if you co-worker says to you, "You look tired," and you think they mean that you look bad this morning, you're wrong.  Most likely, they're just commenting that you look like you're having a rough day and should take a break.  Or it could be that you show the tell-tale signs of a night out and they are looking for a way in to that conversation to hear all about what happened.  In other cases, the person is probably also tired and wants to commiserate.  None of these are offensive things.  These are friendly things.  If you keep that in mind, you're less likely to be hurt by what they say.

Final thought on the matter... If you find that you are a relatively sensitive person and the person who is offending you is insensitive, take a moment to understand insensitive people.  An insensitive person doesn't not care about how you feel, they just don't understand why you feel that way.  Sometimes they don't understand even THAT you feel that way.  It is unwise to assume that an insensitive people should "just know" anything, ever.  It won't happen.  Sensitive people tend to use words and tones to express feelings and emotions.  They speak a language that is meant to be interpreted and read into.  Deciphering meaning in this language is truly an art.  Insensitive people tend to calculate specific words in a specific order and deliver those words to express a specific thought, idea, or observation.  This language is meant to be taken exactly how it was delivered.  Speaking this language is truly an art.

That said, the person is likely to just repeat for you very clearly the exact words they previously said.  If you tell an insensitive person, "You said this, but you meant that," they will disagree with you.  They will be upset if you don't remember the words that they carefully chose to deliver to you.  Reading into their tone or relating what they said to what that means to you (which they will not have known as mentioned before about assumptions) is effectively the same to an insensitive person as not listening at all.  It is like saying, "I don't care what you're really saying.  I'm inventing my own meaning and getting offended by it and blaming you."  This is highly offensive to an insensitive person!  They honestly probably feel bad about offending you, but you can't see it through their frustration.  If it continues, and they are smart enough to not try to dig themselves out of the hole, they will likely assume that you are unreasonable and abandon the situation.

The best thing to do is to first calm down and second realize that the person did not mean to offend you.  They're probably still unsure even why you're offended because they didn't say anything they could possibly imagine as being a bad thing.  Insensitive people tend to make casual, objective observations and comments that they have no emotional attachment to or feeling about one way or the other.  Their is no "good" or "bad" label on most things, so they will be completely unaware if you have one.  Most insensitive people that I know are just as surprised when they find out that people naturally have this view as an sensitive person is to find out that people live without having that view.  Just imagine the amazement between two people, one who has slept in a hammock all his life and never seen a stationary bed, and one who has always had a bed and never seen a hammock.  Each has it's advantages but they are such different ways to get the same job done.

Best of luck!  Reducing the incidences in which you are offended can greatly reduce the stress in your life and improve your general happiness, especially if you are one to be offended often.  Also, if you are either a sensitive or insensitive person looking across that line, maybe this has provided a little insight on what is happening in a situation in which one person is unknowingly offending the other.  Talking about it with the wrong approach obviously only makes it worse.