3 Spa Ideas to Try at Home

3 Spa Ideas to Try at Home

The very word “spa” conjures up images of restfulness, radiance and  rejuvenation. Much as we long to pamper ourselves in those luxurious environs,  it is sometimes difficult to afford the time or the budget for it.

That’s why I thought of three easy ways to create a spa experience in the  comfort of your home, at your own pace, and without stretching your pocket.

Spa Salad

The Menu Reads: This beautiful antioxidant-rich salad  will help you flush away toxins while pampering your taste buds.

Do it Yourself:

Power-Packed Chickpea, Mint & Herb Salad Serves  2

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh cucumber, diced
  • 1/3 cup tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp lightly roasted and ground cumin seeds (optional)
  • A few fresh mint and cilantro leaves, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, the ground  cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Toss the chickpea, cucumber, tomatoes and herbs  together, and mix gently with the dressing. Heart-friendly and fiber-rich  chickpeas, combined with antioxidant-loaded ingredients make this a superbly  delicious and healthful salad.

Spa-Style Face  Mask

The  Menu Reads: The ultimate in organic skin care,  this luxurious facial features vitamin-rich raw ingredients to deeply nourish  and enrich the skin.

Do it Yourself

  • 1 tbsp oatmeal, finely ground
  • 1 tbsp plain yogurt
  • A few drops of honey

Mix yogurt and oatmeal in a bowl. Add in the honey. Apply all over your face  and neck. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with several splashes of  warm water. Follow with a warm washcloth. Apply aloe vera gel or moisturizing cream afterwards. Feel the  baby-soft texture of your freshly pampered skin, and look into the mirror to see  yourself glow! The secret is in the ingredients—oatmeal makes a gentle scrub,  while honey and yogurt do a great job of hydrating parched and dull skin.

Spa Foot Therapy

The Menu Reads: Your feet will be soaked in our Vintage  Lavender bath salts, followed by a healing exfoliation with our Vintage Lavender  sugar scrub to slough away dead skin cells. Your treatment will conclude with  the application of rich shea cream.

Do it Yourself:

Buy a sachet of lavender mineral salts and a small bottle of lavender essential oil. Fill comfortably warm water in a deep bowl or  small bucket, add the mineral salts, and slide feet into it. Relax for a few  minutes while you flip through your favorite magazine, listen to music or simply  close your eyes and drift away.

Afterwards, pour a few drops of the lavender oil into half a cup of sugar,  and treat your feet to an exfoliating scrub-cum-massage. Wash it all off and  apply a good quality moisturizing lotion or cream all over feet, again taking  the opportunity to knead stressed-out muscles. Aah! Home sweet spa!

5-Minute Tips for Better Health

5-Minute Tips for Better Health

If you have only 5 extra minutes in your  day, try these simple tips to look and feel better. I’ve tried them all, and  they really work!

  • Enjoy a cup of coffee. Research studies show that caffeine keeps heart  rhythm steady, and strengthens your ticker.
  • Pamper your neglected joints. Mix some lemon juice with a little pure cream  and sugar. Rub this gently all over your elbows and knees. The Vitamin C in  lemon lightens skin, the cream moisturizes it, and the sugar exfoliates.
  • Spend five extra minutes on chewing your food—aim for 20 seconds per bite.  The Red Cross warns in its booklet on cardiopulmonary resuscitation that bolting  food is a common cause of windpipe obstruction and clogged coronaries. Taking  small, slow bites kickstarts your digestive juices even before the food reaches  your stomach. Besides, it makes you mindful of what you are eating, so you tend  to eat less, and feel less stressed.
  • Sip a tall glass of warm water, slowly. It is an excellent way to get the  toxins on their way out of your body.
  • Practice real breathing. When you inhale, try to breathe into your  diaphragm. This will give more oxygen to your brain and lungs and lend a glow to  your skin. Do it for just 10 minutes twice a day, and you will feel the  difference.
  • Trim your toenails. Besides making you feel cleaner, spending time with your  body will also boost self-image

5 Ways to Wind Down Your Evening

5 Ways to Wind Down Your Evening

Hand massage with a lovely essential oil: Choose from among  lavender, chamomile, neroli, sandalwood and ylang ylang, all of which are known  to promote restful sleep. Pour 2 to 3 drops of your chosen oil into a small  bottle of a ‘carrier’ oil such as almond or sesame oil, and gently massage it  all over your hands. Uncork the bottle and inhale the aroma. You will feel  incredibly relaxed.

Soft, soothing lights: Invest some time and attention on the  lighting in your home. It can make a dramatic difference to the way you feel in  the evening. In rhythm with nature, our bodies crave low light in the evening,  but we deny them that need by surrounding ourselves with bright lights. A dimmer  switch, a set of lovely candles…simple luxuries that will take all your stress  away.

A bowl of cherries: guess what. A small bunch of cherries  can help you sleep better. That’s because cherries are one of the only natural  sources of melatonin, which promotes sleep.  You can also take them along  on a plane journey—rest assured, you’ll have a stress-free flight.

A snug pillow: is your pillow hypoallergenic? When did you  last change it? How well does it hug your head and cradle your neck? A  good-quality pillow is not a luxury, it’s an essential buy—but yes, it can make  you sleep like royalty.

A warm soak: just the thought of relaxing in a warm bath is  enough to make me sigh. As far as I am concerned, its health benefits–better  circulation and relief from aches and pains are only a bonus. The real comfort  is in the way the gentle water soothes your mind and restores your spirits.

An uplifting book: I love to go to bed with books such as  Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, (even though it’s  described as a ‘daybook’ of comfort and joy), all of Alexandra Stoddard’s  elegant books, and sometimes even a beautiful childrens’ book that brings home a  simple but powerful message.  Just perfect for helping me sleep on a  positive note.

 

16 Things That Really Matter

16 Things That Really Matter

 

  • Clean breath.
  • Sound digestion.
  • Good quality sleep.
  • A daily connection with nature—even  watering your plants or taking a  walk in the park count!
  • Being able to keep your promises.
  • A dream to aspire to.
  • A hobby or leisure activity that soothes and ignites your soul.
  • A real friend: someone you can really talk to, cry before and laugh  with.
  • The comfort of a meal or movie shared with family.
  • The luxury of a place of your own—even if it is a cosy little nook in a tiny  home.
  • The joy of coming  back to a home that invites you to relax.
  • Celebrating  the small victories and joys of life rather than waiting  for big dollops of good news.
  • Being able to see the silver lining.
  • Being able to listen before you judge.
  • Waking up with something more than just routine work  to look forward  to.
  • Going to bed knowing that you made someone’s day a little happier  today.

 

Worried It’s Alzheimer’s? 8 Symptoms to Watch For

Worried It’s Alzheimer’s? 8 Symptoms to Watch For

Applying the word “Alzheimer’s” to your parent can be uncomfortable, even if  the signs, or symptoms, have been adding up for some time. It’s much easier to  gloss over strange behavior: “Oh, Mom’s just getting older.”Or to rationalize:  “Well, we all forget things sometimes.”

Only a qualified physician can conclude with high certainty that a living  person has Alzheimer’s disease. But the following eight symptoms are strongly  associated with the disease. If you detect these signs in your parent, it would  be wise to seek a medical evaluation.

1. Memory lapses

  • Does your parent ask repetitive questions or retell stories within minutes  of the first mention?
  • Does she forget the names of recent acquaintances or younger family members,  such as grandchildren?
  • Are memory lapses growing progressively worse (such as affecting information  that was previously very well known)?
  • Are they happening more frequently (several times a day or within short  periods of time)?
  • Is this forgetfulness unusual for your parent (such as sudden memory lapses  in someone who prided herself on never needing grocery lists or an address  book)?

Everyone forgets some things sometimes. But a parent may have Alzheimer’s  disease if you notice these kinds of lapses. Having problems with memory is the  first and foremost symptom noticed. It’s a typical Alzheimer’s symptom to forget  things learned recently (such as the answer to a question, an intention to do  something, or a new acquaintance) but to still be able to remember things from  the remote past (such as events or people from childhood, sometimes with  explicit detail). In time, even long-term memories will be affected. But by then  other Alzheimer’s symptoms will have appeared.

2. Confusion over words

  • Does your parent have difficulty finding the “right” word when she’s  speaking?
  • Does she forget or substitute words for everyday things (such as “the  cooking thingamajig” for pot or “hair fixer” for comb)?

Of course it’s normal for anyone to occasionally “blank” on a word,  especially words not often used. But it’s considered a red flag for Alzheimer’s  if this happens with growing frequency and if the needed words are simple or  commonplace ones.

This can be a very frustrating experience for the speaker. She may stall  during a conversation, fixating on finding a particular word. She may replace  the right word with another word. This substitute could be similar enough that  you could guess at her meaning (“hair dryer” instead of “hairdresser”),  especially early on in the disease process. Or it could be completely different  (“bank” instead of “hairdresser”) or nonsensical (“hairydoo”).

3. Marked changes in mood or personality

  • Is your usually assertive parent more subdued (or vice versa)?
  • Has your usually reserved parent may become less inhibited (or vice  versa)?
  • Does your parent withdraw, even from family and friends, perhaps in response  to problems with memory or communication?
  • Has she developed mood swings, anxiety, or frustration, especially in  connection with embarrassing memory lapses or noticeable communication  problems?
  • Has she developed uncharacteristic fears of new or unknown environments or  situations, or developed a distrust of others, whether strangers or familiar  people?
  • Do you see signs of depression (including changes in sleep, appetite,  mood)?

Mood shifts are a difficult sign to link decisively to Alzheimer’s disease  because age and any medical condition may spark changes in someone’s mood,  personality, or behavior. In combination with other Alzheimer’s symptoms,  however, changes such as those described above may contribute to a suspicion of  the disease.

A person with Alzheimer’s may also become restless and/or aggressive, but  usually in later stages of the disease.

4. Trouble with abstract thinking

  • How well does your parent handle relatively simple mathematical tasks, such  as balancing a checkbook?
  • Is she having trouble paying bills or keeping finances in order, tasks she  previously had no problem completing?
  • Does she have trouble following along with a discussion, understanding an  explanation, or following instructions?

Abstract thinking becomes increasingly challenging for someone with  Alzheimer’s, especially if the topic is complex or if the reasoning is  sequential or related to cause and effect.

5. Difficulty completing familiar activities

  • Has your parent begun to have trouble preparing meals?
  • Is she less engaged in a hobby that once absorbed her (bridge, painting,  crossword puzzles)?
  • Does she stop in the middle of a project, such as baking or making a repair,  and fail to complete it?
  • Has she stopped using a particular talent or skill that once gave her  pleasure (sewing, singing, playing the piano)?

Activities with various different steps, however routine and familiar, can  become difficult to complete for a person with Alzheimer’s. Your parent  might become distracted or lose track of where she is in the process, feeling  confused. Or she might just lose interest altogether and leave a project  unfinished.

Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia is especially suspect when the  difficult or abandoned activity is something the person formerly delighted in  and excelled at, or used to engage in frequently.

6. Disorientation

  • Has your parent begun to be disoriented in new or unfamiliar environments  (such as a hospital or airport), asking where she is, how she got there, or how  to get back to a place she recognizes?
  • Has she become disoriented in an environment she knows well?
  • Does she wander off and get lost in public (or get lost when driving or  after parking)?
  • Does she lose track of the time, day, month, or year? For example, after  being reminded about a future doctor’s appointment over the phone, she may start  getting ready for the appointment right away. Or she may have trouble keeping  appointments and remembering other events or commitments.

These examples of disorientation are all typical Alzheimer’s symptoms, more  so in later stages of the disease but sometimes early on as well.

7. Misplacing items

  • Does your parent “lose” items often?
  • Do they turn up in unusual places (such as finding a wallet in the  freezer)?

Losing track of glasses, keys, and papers happens to most adults sometimes,  whether due to age or just a busy lifestyle. However, it may be a symptom of  Alzheimer’s if this behavior escalates and if items are sometimes stored in  inappropriate or unusual places, and your parent doesn’t remember having put  them there.

8. Poor or impaired judgment Has your parent recently  made questionable decisions about money management? Has she made odd choices  regarding self-care (such as dressing inappropriately for the weather or  neglecting to bathe)? Is it hard for her to plan ahead (such as figuring out  what groceries are needed or where to spend a holiday)?

Difficulty with decision-making can be related to other possible symptoms of  Alzheimer’s, such as lapses in memory, personality changes, and trouble with  abstract thinking. Inappropriate choices are an especially worrisome sign, as  your parent may make unsound decisions about her safety, health, or  finances.

Many of these Alzheimer’s symptoms go unnoticed for a long time. That’s  because they’re often subtle or well concealed by your parent (or the other  parent), who may be understandably freaked out by the changes she’s noticing in  her own behavior. Some patterns of behavior take time to make themselves  obvious.

If you suspect Alzheimer’s, keep track of what you’re noticing. Ask others  who know your parent what they think. Encourage your parent to see her  doctor.

 

For Those Near Lexington, KY – Tea leaf readings this Saturday at Lexington’s Mystical Paranormal Fair

Tea leaf readings this Saturday at Lexington’s Mystical Paranormal Fair

There will be tea leaf readings this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mystical Paranormal Fair in Lexington at 835 Porter Street.

The art of tea leaf reading is known as tasseography. Tasseography includes not just tea but coffee and wine sediments. This type of divination has been around since ancient times and have been said to have been born from the Middle East and the Orient due to the fat that this is where tea originated. The Middle East tends to read coffee grounds.

To read tea leaves is considered to be very complex and hard. It’s not just drinking a cup of tea and swishing out the extra and looking at symbols. There are traditions that determine how you collect the tea may have a meaning, how you prepare the tea and how you swirl all have different meanings to some readers.

The reader then swirls out the tea and reads the symbols. This is where it becomes complicated. But, many people spend most of their life learning this art as it is passed down from one generation to the other.

Tea Leaf reading is considered one of the more creative and classy way of telling the future. Women all over the world drink tea and throughout history have passed down the secret to other women. It was easily hidden when governments look for “witches”. This has even occurred recently in a few countries that consider any divination as evil.

So, the next time that you watch Harry Potter and Professor Trelawney teaches this in her divination class try and see what you see in the cups.

Tea Leaf Readings are $20.

If you would like more information please visit the website at www.mpfair.com.

Lighten Up – Fifty Sure-Fire Ways to Tell If Your Next-Door Neighbor is a Pagan

Fifty Sure-Fire Ways to Tell If Your Next-Door Neighbor is a Pagan

How many of the following does your neighbor exhibit?

1. Never puts garbage out on the curb…I mean, recycling and compost are fine, but you can take it too far!
2. You casually mention the moon’s phase, and s/he replies with the exact number of days, hours, and minutes of rising, position on horizon, and current angle of declination.
3. All the stray cats in the neighborhood congregate in her/his garden.
4. A screech-owl has chosen the lamppost outside her/his house as it’s favorite perch…just when it’s getting warm outside at night and you want to sleep with your windows open.
5. Doesn’t mow down the weeds in his/her garden and lawn…in fact, it sort of looks like s/he’s cultivating them!
6. The abundance of black garments drying on the clothesline out back.
7. Local kids whisper and stare as they pass his/her house, then start running if they spot movement in the house or yard.
8. Nobody trick-or-treats at his/her door–not since the year that his/her costume was scarier than any of theirs!
9. Footprints on the roof…and the trees near the house look as if they’ve been pruned for a flight-path!
10. S/he can’t make a sandwich without adding fresh herbs to it…and don’t accept that offer of a cup of tea unless you want something yellow-colored and smelling like flowers!
11. S/he never gets junk mail…you idly wonder why, and s/he confides that she just returns it to sender after writing something on it in strange curly script.
12. When you drop in for a chat, the coffee pot or tea kettle is already starting to perk.
13. Jehovah’s Witnesses never knock on his/her door anymore…not after the last time…
14. Keeps the local candle shop solvent.
15. Has a pond out back full of frogs…and you haven’t seen that pesky storm-window salesman in a while.
16. S/he’s always smiling peacefully!
17. Went to a Halloween costume party dressed normally, and won first prize!
18. Her/his house always smells like incense and herbs.
19. Has cats named Kali, Diana, Loki, and Pele.
20. Bumper-sticker on his/her car reads, “I brake for toads”.
21. Frequently gets questioned by the drug squad, who confiscate large amounts of dried green leaves and always return them with abject apologies after analysis!
22. At Christmas, it seems like half the garden is moved into the house.
23. Sometimes you hear the sounds of singing and drumming through the wall…if you look outside, it’s usually a full moon.
24. Was given a bodram or dumbek for her/his last birthday…and sometimes plays it outside at midnight…
25. You discover the “realistic resin” skull s/he affectionately calls “Ron” in the living room actually is real…and hadn’t you heard of an ex-lover named Ron?
26. You catch her/him washing a crystal ball along with the dishes.
27. S/he wears lots of silver jewelry, even when weeding or changing the oil in the car…
28. You knock on the door and s/he answers it wearing only a robe…you apologize for disturbing her/his shower, but notice her/his hair isn’t wet…
29. Tendency to hum or softly chant, especially while outside in the garden.
30. Has a tame robin that will eat from his/her hand in the garden…that can’t be normal.
31. Never catches a cold, despite a tendency to walk around barefoot often…even in the snow.
32. Doesn’t kill spiders…even the huge hairy ones that startle you when you’re in the tub.
33. Always listens to what you’re saying like s/he really cares.
34. Has lots of female friends that come around once or twice a month…when you ask what they’re up to, s/he tells you they just have cake and ale and a nice chat.
35. You catch him/her hugging a tree.
36. Owns a dinner set decorated with Celtic patterns or a “stars and moons” design.
37. Has a mail-order account with a semi-precious gems wholesaler.
38. The priest who lives around the corner always crosses himself when driving past her/his house.
39. Never watches television…but owns shelves full of books with black spines and silver lettering.
40. To your certain knowledge has never set foot in the local church…you’ve even heard rumors s/he’s been barred from it.
41. You ask to borrow a deck of cards for an impromptu evening of canasta, and there are 78 in the pack.
42. You’ve never known him/her to go to a physician.
43. When you chat, s/he gently maintains eye contact the whole time.
44. Expectant mothers are always visiting…also women who become expectant mothers a short time after visiting and leaving with bags full of herbs.
45. You ask for suggestions of nice walks in the area, and they all go by way of strange earth mounds, oak groves, and stone circles.
46. S/he only buys organic food…and you suspect vegetarian as well!
47. When you ask about vacation plans, you’re told about camping in yurts…or festivals with communal cabins.
48. There aren’t any clocks in the house…and most of the mirrors are black.
49. Has a statue of a dragon near the garden gate…calls it her/his “watch-dragon”.
50. Tells you s/he’s coming out of the broom closet, and installs a stained-glass pentagram window in the front door!

Score:
1-10: Probably just a bit odd.
11-20: Might be a New Age hippy…harmless, maybe a little deluded.
21-30: Best not to offend her/him, just to be on the safe side.
31-40: Definitely something suspicious going on…stock up on your supply of Holy Water.
41-50: Get the kindling together–we’re going to have ourselves a burning!

– Andie Gilmour

Just for Fun – What Your Car Says About You

What Your Car Says About You

 

Young men drive Camaros, soccer moms drive minivans, and rich snobs drive Bentleys.  We usually associate a certain type of car with a certain type of person, but do  we really know who’s behind the wheel? After all, our perception of a car is  largely based on how it was marketed—Volvos for safety, Porsches for speed. But  it can be tough to decipher whether people buy a car because they think it will  make them out to be something they are or may not be, or because the same group  of people always buy the same type of car. That’s because  psychographics—grouping customers according to beliefs and attitudes and selling  them products to fit their group—is at play.

So what does your car say about you? What is that SUV driver really supposed  to be like? Here’s a clue.

Small Car: Prius, Honda Civic, Smart Car According to a  study by researchers at UC Davis,  small car drivers are more  pro-environmental and prefer higher density neighborhoods than drivers of others  types of cars. This isn’t surprising; if you live in a big city, it’s simply  easier to park with a small car and if you’re concerned about the environment,  you’ll want something that’s more fuel-efficient. Small car drivers, unlike  other categories of drivers, don’t necessarily see their cars as a ticket to  freedom. They aren’t workaholics or status seekers who try to display wealth.  They want to lessen their impact on the earth and have a reliable car—and  find a parking spot.

Mid-Sized Car: Chevrolet Sedan The authors of the study  found that “mid-sized car drivers have no distinct travel attitude, personality,  lifestyle, mobility, or travel-liking characteristics.” Ouch! Does that mean  they’re totally boring? Maybe, or maybe just pragmatic, or maybe they got their  cars as a hand-me-down. The owners were more likely to be female and homemakers;  they also had higher incomes.

If you’re driving an American-made sedan, you might belong to the group  psychographers call “belongers.” That’s those who need to belong to a group, are  very nationalistic, and don’t like change. The stereotype of this person is  someone who lives in an average town in the Midwest. When not driving a sedan,  they may also be in a U.S.-made pickup or station wagon.

Luxury Cars: Cadillac, Lexus Those who drive luxury cars  are—no surprise—status seekers; they also are more apt to drive long distances.  Men and older or retired people are more likely to drive luxury cars. In  particular, luxury car drivers are over-represented among highly-educated and  higher-income people.

In psychographic lingo, the “achievers”—profit-oriented workaholics who like  being independent—are also likely to drive luxury cars and/or sports cars.

Sports Cars: BMW, Porsches Those who are adventure  seekers (even if they never get out of the car) drive sports cars. They’re not  calm and are more likely than average to have a college degree. Surprisingly,  based on the cost of most sports cars, they were more likely to have lower  incomes. Some of these may fall into the category of “emulator”—younger,  financially unstable, low self-esteem people who buy flashy cars that aren’t  true sports or luxury cars to try to emulate achievers.

Minivan/Van In the study, minivan drivers tended to be  calm and weren’t loners. (Who would buy such a big car just for themselves?)  They enjoyed traveling in their car; they were more likely to live in the  suburbs, be females, homemakers, and aged forty-one to sixty-four, and surprise  surprise, have children.

Pickup In the study, pickup drivers don’t like  high-density living situations and are more likely to be dissatisfied with their  lives. They tend to be workaholics, have lower education, be full-time  employees, have service related jobs, and be middle-income.

SUV It’s not surprising that people who favored larger cars were less environmentally-minded. SUV drivers,  in particular, also liked to travel short distances in their cars. They were  more likely to be suburbanites, aged forty or younger. The drivers came from  larger households that were more likely to have children.

Not only might the type of car you drive say something about you, so does the  color. According to a survey done in Great Britain, certain colors indicate  certain personalities. Here are some generalities:

  • Black: aggressive personality, rebel
  • Silver: cool, calm, may be a loner
  • Green: reactive
  • Yellow: idealistic
  • Blue: introspective, reflective, and cautious
  • Red: someone who is full of energy and pizzazz
  • White: status seekers, gregarious
  • Cream: contained and controlled

Whether we choose cars for how we want others to perceive us, or if we are  simply concerned with price and function, what we drive can send some serious  messages.

 

Daily Feng Shui Tip for July 13 – ‘Collector Car Appreciation Day’

I can steer you in the right direction on ‘Collector Car Appreciation Day’ as we Feng Shui your car in order to keep good energy flowing inside as you drive along life’s highways. First, keep the car trash free. Clutter inside the car is not only distracting but it also drains away precious energy away. You want to keep those natural resources at their peak so your performances can be as well. Keeping small cotton balls with a few drops of peppermint essential oil and lemon will also lighten the energies inside the car. Other mystical ways to drive good energies into your vehicle is to hang a clear quartz crystal from the rear view mirror, keep a small statue of a sacred deity affixed to the dashboard or place six peacock feathers in the glove box. All of these adjustments are believed to bring cosmic protection and good Chi that can fill your personal tank with confidence and clarity. Remember, it’s never about the destination; it’s all about the good Chi of the transportation that gets you there!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com