Monday, January 27, 2014

January Etiquette Articles on About.com

Now that the holidays are over, my etiquette articles on About.com have a different focus. It's more about everyday life and how you can make it better by exhibiting good manners.

Here are some you might enjoy:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Some of My Favorite Smoothie Ingredients

I make a health smoothie everyday. Most of the time I include at least one vegetable, one fruit, flax meal, and some form of protein. I don't follow a recipe. I just dump whatever I have into my NutriBullet and hope for the best. Whenever possible I use frozen fruit so I don't have to add ice that waters down the treat. I also prefer organic produce most of the time. If you need to sweeten your drink, use honey, agave, or stevia.

Here's a list of ingredients I typically use – but not all at the same time:
  • Frozen mixed berries
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen pineapple chunks
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Kiwis
  • Avocado
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Greek yogurt
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Raw oats
  • Any type of fruit juice
  • Coconut water
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

 If color is important to you, avoid combining two things that will turn brown or gray when blended (red and green, purple and orange, or purple and green). For a purple drink, I'll use blueberries, pineapple, carrots, nuts, and grape juice. If I'm in the mood for something orange, I'll combine oranges, carrots, yogurt, and coconut water. Mix kiwi, avocado, kale, walnuts, and apple juice for a beautiful green drink. Season with cinnamon or nutmeg for an extra boost of flavor and nutrition.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Small Lifestyle Changes Make a Big Difference in Your Health

I've always tried to be as healthy as possible, but temptations (brownies, chips and salsa, etc.) have caused me to stumble many times. What I've learned is that you don't have to be perfect all the time. When you cave in to treats or ignore that voice in the back of your head telling you that you need to exercise, you're not doomed to total failure. Just forgive yourself and plow forward.

Here are a few changes you can make to get healthier:
  • When you go to the store or mall, opt for a distant parking space. A few extra steps throughout your day add up and burn calories.
  • Eat 2 servings of fish each week for your heart. If you don't care for the flavor, disguise it with teriyaki or Italian sauce.
  • Add flax meal to as many recipes as you can. Some of my favorites include meatloaf, smoothies, and oatmeal.
  • Eat a substantial breakfast that will last all morning. Doing this may help you resist the temptation to grab a doughnut at the office. Make sure you have some lean protein that "sticks to your ribs" and fruit that provides a vitamin boost.
  • Add an extra veggie to your plate each meal. As little as a 1/2-cup serving can provide a big bump to your immune system and antioxidant levels.
  • Include as many super-foods in your daily diet as possible. Some of them are broccoli, kale, salmon, eggs, nuts, yogurt, sweet potatoes, beans, and berries.
  • Walk 20-30 minutes each and every day. You can do this before you get ready for work, during your lunch hour, or after dinner each night.
  • Exercise during commercials. Strengthen your core by doing as few as a dozen crunches per day. Stretch afterward to maintain flexibility.
  • Limit coffee consumption to 2 cups or less per day.
  • Cut as much sugar as possible. Eat fruit instead.
  • Cut back on sodas and drink water instead. If you typically drink 3 sodas per day, back off to 1 or 2. Eventually you may discover that you prefer water to quench your thirst. You may enjoy a refreshing splash of lemon juice added to your water.
  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours per night.
  • Sit up straight when eating or typing on the computer.
  • Step away from your work desk as often as possible. Walk around, run in place, and get the wiggles out.
  • Take a daily multivitamin.
  • Kiss your spouse and kids.
  • Be nice to others. Using good manners and smiling as you go through your busy day can give you a better overall feeling about life.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to Reading

I've been an avid reader ever since I learned how to sound out words. My grandmother taught me that a good book will take you anywhere you want to go without having to leave the comfort of home. I'm sure that my love of reading is what prompted me to write books many years ago, and that's wonderful. I'll continue writing as long as I can. However, I've decided to cut back to writing a little bit less and reading a whole lot more.

I have quite a few favorite authors, many of them fellow members of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. To quote my good friend Cherie Burbach, I'm a "total fan-girl" when I'm around some of these people who have also become good friends. I'm so honored to be in their presence.

When I speak to readers, I'm often asked who my favorite books and authors are. I have many favorites, so I've decided to list some of the authors and links to their websites. There are more writers whose books are on my keeper shelf, but it would take me all day and night for a week to list all of them.

Here are some of my current favorites, and I would recommend any of their books:
  • Sandra D. Bricker - Funny girl who can also make you cry.
  • Lena Nelson Dooley - Delightful woman who writes some fabulous, authentic historical stories.
  • Martha Rogers - Fellow Bloomfield author. I want to be her when I grow up. Her books are great too!
  • Shelley Shepard Gray - Known for her authentic Amish stories.
  • Loree Lough - Great author of all kinds of fiction. She's been around a while, so you'll need to get started on her books soon if you want to read all of them.
  • Jenny B. Jones - Light, breezy, fun, and super contemporary author who writes fabulous women's fiction and young adult stories.
  • Trish Perry - Fellow Bloomfield author, devo mate, and sort of related to me through our characters in a Christmas anthology, I love everything she writes!
  • Kathi Macias - Fellow Bloomfield author who also write serious books that are deeply emotional.
  • Gail Sattler - Fellow Bloomfield author. Funny and quirky are the best words to describe her writing.
  • I'm also a huge fan of Kristin Billerbeck, Terri Blackstock, Kathleen Fuller, Deborah Raney, Susan May Warren, Mary Connealy, Janice Hanna (Thompson), Ronie Kendig, Cara Putman, Robin Carrol, Tina Radcliffe, Gail Martin, and so many more.