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Smart Pillow Nudges Snorers

Posted on Sep 22, 2014 by No Comments

Who would ever think sleeping together could get so complicated? We have all kinds of things that can become comfort issues like how firm the mattress is, how warm or cool the room is, and even things like how quiet the room is.

For instance, if snoring keeps you awake, and your partner snores it can lead to sleep deprivation not to mention some irritation and maybe even a request that they go sleep on the sofa or another bedroom.

Now there’s a smart pillow that might just be the answer to that problem. It actually nudges snorers and gently pushes them into a new position to stop the snoring!

Snore pillows aren’t the first invention inspired to stop noisy nights. There are jaw straps to hold the mouth closed, wedge pillows, water-based pillows, snore pins you place in the nose, dental appliances, but this new pillow sold by Hammacher Schlemmer actually has an integrated microphone that picks up the sonic vibrations created by snoring and inflates an air pocket inside the pillow which makes it three inches taller.

The inventors of this pillow believe the change in the position of the head or body will make the difference. The thinking is that it will cause the person to find a more comfortable position perhaps on to their side which can reduce snoring.

The pillow is controlled by a panel of buttons on the side which lets you set the sensitivity level that works best for you. The high setting is recommended for light snorers and the low setting for heavy-duty snorers.

You can also manually inflate the pillow to your desired thickness with choices making the pillow between four and seven inches. It has a 30 minute delay that gives you enough time to fall asleep without worrying about the pillow height shifting.

I know what you’re asking. What’s the cost for a peaceful night’s sleep. This pillow can be purchases via Hammacher Schlemmer online catalog for $149.

Photo credits: eliduke

Magician Wins America’s Got Talent First Time Ever

Posted on Sep 22, 2014 by No Comments

I enjoy watching talent shows, and of them America’s Got Talent is my favorite. First of all the judges, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel are so different from one another and yet work well as a panel.

In fact, I’m surprised to admit, Howard Stern is probably the most astute of the judges and has an eye for talent and the ability to offer constructive criticism that’s actually helps contestants if they are smart enough to listen to him.

Another reason I like the show is that it offers a diverse spectrum of talent. Yes, they have their share of singers and musicians, but all ages are represented. Beyond singing or playing an instrument this year we were thrilled by hand balancers, magicians, comedians, acrobatic acts, and dancing combined with technology with exciting and entertaining effects.

AGT 2014 talent brought to the America’s Got Talent stage was the best ever. Of the top six acts, I thought four of them could be the winners, it was that crazy good. And this year the level of magic brought to the show was astounding.

Acts sent home during the semi-finals in other years could have been the winner, but with the level of talent this year it wasn’t meant to be. Within those semi-finals there were three magic acts and they were all good but of them, only illusionist Mat Franco moved into the top six finalists.

The self-taught illusionist from Rhode Island had dreamed of this since childhood and said, “It feels amazing! It feels great, fulfilling, emotional, all at once in a way that I can’t describe.”

Other finalists included singer Miguel Dakota, 12-year-old soul singer Quintavious Johnson, the jazz quartet Sons Of Serendip, and the daredevil acrobatic group AcroArmy, and then it was narrowed to just Mat Franco and singer Emily West.

Both were worthy of a win, but a magician had never won…until now. Congratulations to Mat Franco. If I make it to Los Vegas I’ll plan to see his show.

Photo credits: AwesomeTalent666

Obesity Raises the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 by 2 Comments

We all know obesity is detrimental for our health but many times we don’t really know how bad it is for us.

It’s commonly understood that obesity increases our chances of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, but a recent study by researchers from Rutgers University found women with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 also have a 6 percent increase in ovarian cancer risk per five points increase in BMI.

Obesity has been linked to other cancers, too, so it almost makes me think that part of looking for the cure for cancer should include finding  a way to really help people reach a normal weight and to equip them with the tools needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Of course, there are other risk factors that come into play. For those of us who have ovarian cancer in the family, our risk is increased – especially if the person with the cancer is our mother, sister, or daughter!

Plus the more people in the family who have it, the higher our risk, but statistics show up to 10 percent of ovarian cancers result from an inherited tendency to develop the disease. Those risk factors we can’t control.

Our weight, on the other hand, is something we should be able to manage. According to Cancer.org, our prevention strategy should be to “be as lean as possible throughout life.” They make it clear that Americans whose lifestyle conforms to the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention are much less likely to die from cancer.

So while many of us know we should eat better and be more active, why don’t we do it?

Photo credits: Public Domain Photos

3 Tricks to Freezing Fresh Herbs

Posted on Sep 16, 2014 by 2 Comments

My daughter has planted herbs in the flower beds around her house, and this year we have a bumper crop of basil, along with more mint, parsley, oregano, and cilantro than we can use before the first frost hits.

I’ve canned for years, but am newer at preserving herbs for use during the winter months. I’ve learned quickly that some herbs freeze better than others, while some offer better flavor if dried, like oregano.

Know which herbs freeze best: The first trick to freezing fresh herbs is to know which ones are best frozen and which should be dried. My list is still rather short as I’m learning my way, but figured I’d share it with the other newbies out there.

Best frozen herbs: basil, chives, dill; best dried herbs: oregano, sage, mint, lemongrass. I’d love to hear what my readers think, too.

Lay them flat on a pan: The second trick for freezing herbs is to lay them flat on a pan to freeze, and then to place them in a freezer baggie or plastic container.

Basil Pesto

Freeze basil pesto to add to soups and sauces.

Make a puree: The third trick is my favorite for the basil, but I’m sure it would work with other herbs, too. Place leaves in food processor and add a little olive oil and other seasonings, and pulse into a puree.

Freeze the paste in an ice tray or mini-muffin pan. When frozen, store cubes in a re-sealable baggie for use in soups and sauces.

Basil Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cups basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic (2 makes it pretty garlicky)

I’m excited to be filling my freezer with fresh basil, some chives, and dill. This winter, it will help me save on my ever-increasing grocery bill because I won’t have to cough up the money for fresh herbs.

Photo credit: KateMonkey, thebittenword.com

Bride Creates Severed Head Wedding Cake

Posted on Sep 15, 2014 by No Comments

Bride Natalie Sideserf wanted a wedding cake that was over the top. As an award winning cake artist she came up with the perfect design for her groom, an avid horror film fan. Her idea — a wedding cake that took the shape of their severed heads.

That’s right. It wasn’t just a cake topper that looked like severed heads, which could be creepy enough, but the cake itself appeared as the lifelike severed heads of the bride and groom. The cake was served on a white board with a banner that read, “Til Death Do Us Part.”

When I first heard about this, it kind of creeped me out, though I’m not big into graphic horror. I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the guests might have felt the same.

The wedding itself was a movie-themed wedding, and Sideserf spent 40 hours creating the cake to match the theme. She wanted it to be a surprise for her guests so she didn’t tell anyone, and looked forward to seeing people’s reaction.

severed head wedding cake

No one saw it until the cake was displayed at the wedding which was held in Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, in Texas. This site was chosen because it is a cinema that serves food and alcohol.

To her delight, the cake was well received. Sideserf said, “Everybody was shocked and loved it.” However, she admits that her grandma wasn’t thrilled with the cake. I can only imagine! However, her grandmother found a positive in the amount of detail and how realistic the cake looked.

Sideserf had run the idea by her husband first. As a fan of scary movies and he said, “That would be amazing.” And she rolled with it.

While the cake design might be a turn off for some, it was said to be delicious complete with butter cream frosting.

Photo credits: White

Remove the Chocolate for Healthier S’mores! Really?

Posted on Sep 10, 2014 by No Comments

We just had a get together yesterday that included a campfire in the backyard fire pit following dinner. The teens and tweens couldn’t wait to make S’mores. We had graham crackers, caramel, chocolate, or regular marshmallows, and Hershey’s candy bars.

The sweet treats aren’t something we have very often because they’re just that…a treat. The definition of treat is “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.”

If you don’t know what a S’mores is, I’d be surprised. But just in case you don’t, let me be clear. It’s a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate smooshed between two graham crackers. It is a great American classic.

Now the Obama administration is trying to modify the S’more. Their modification is to leave out the chocolate. When I first heard this, I thought it was a joke, but apparently it’s not.

The reasoning behind it is that they are trying to make this occasional treat healthier. It leads me to ask, why did they pick on the chocolate? After all, what about the marshmallow? That’s like pure sugar and gelatin, while dark chocolate at least offers antioxidants and has been proven to be good for you in small amounts.

Not only do I wonder what made them decide to pick on S’mores, but it also makes me wonder what’s next? Maybe all the sugary cereals will disappear from the store shelves, especially if they happen to be chocolate!

And how about cookies, those are treats. Does that mean chocolate cookies could be eliminated? After all, I think people eat cookies a lot more often than S’mores, or what about chocolate candy bars.

Instead of trying to make rules on what to eat or should I say not eat, how about we teach kids and ourselves moderation when it comes to treats. The food itself isn’t “bad” it’s the over indulgence.

Photo credits: wikimedia

DWTS Celebrity Contestants Announced for Season 19

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 by No Comments

Dancing With the Stars Season 19 is due to air starting Sept. 15. The 13 new celebrity contestants have been announced.

With all the changes that have taken place on the show, I confess I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d watch, but now that they’ve announced the contestants, I admit, I’ll watch at least the first show or two to see how it goes.

While I’m always reminded of how many “celebrities” I don’t know by name, once they tie the stars to their past roles I do recognize most of them.

For instance, Alfonso Ribeiro played Carlton on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Once I put the name with the actor, I couldn’t help but remember the “Carlton dance” when he danced to Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual.

In fact, they brought that up as they talked to the stars on Good Morning America and even mentioned the possibility of incorporating it into one of his routines. For me that’s a hook. I’ll tune in. He’ll be paired up with Whitney Carlson.

Others I recognized include Sadie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame who will be teamed with Mark Ballas, and NASCAR’S two-time Daytona winner Mike Waltrip who will be dancing with Emma Slater.

I didn’t recognize Lea Thompson’s name right off, but then they said she starred in Back to the Future. Once I Googled her, I knew she played Marty’s mom. Her partner is Artem Chigvintsev.

Others I didn’t know at all, include Tommy Chong, a comedian, Travis Smiley, a talk show host, and Betsey Johnson a fashion designer. And lastly was Antonio Sabato, Jr. from General Hospital. I didn’t recognize him at all, though he is really good looking! You see I gave up the soaps decades ago because for me they were too time consuming.

The last two contestants were Pretty Little Liars actress Janel Parrish, and beauty guru Bethany Mota.

I never know all the celebs when DWTS starts a new season, but by the end of the season most of them are famous in my eyes. I admit I was reluctant to watch with the changes that have taken place, but Alfonso Ribeiro and Sadie Robertson will have me tuning in.

Do you plan to watch this season?

Photo credits: Celebified

Create an Interactive Baby Book

Posted on Sep 8, 2014 by No Comments



My girlfriend is a homeschool mom who never expected to find herself preparing one child to go off to college while potty training another. Her four girls range in age from 13 to 18 and bringing up the rear is her son Nathan who is now 20 months old.

The pregnancy was a surprise, and the 9 months gave her time to adjust her thinking on life as she prepared to start from the baby stage one more time. When little Nathan arrived, life changed and everyone not only adapted but fell in love with the little guy. We all took pics at the hospital and captured special moments, milestones, and everyday cuteness. Then the unthinkable happened. My girlfriend’s cellphone died, and she hadn’t backed up her pictures. “I’ve lost his first year,” she said.

Like I said, I had taken pictures on a regular basis, and as his family planned to celebrate Nathan’s first birthday, I decided to put together a photo album of his first year. I picked out a photo album small enough for little hands to handle with a pocket on the cover for a face shot. Even though it was a gift for Nathan’s birthday, in my heart is was really a gift for his mom since she’d lost her photos.

When I started gathering the pics for the project, I found I had a pretty complete collection. I printed out newborn pictures from our visit to the hospital, toothless smiles, learning to sit up, sleeping on a shoulder, standing at the coffee table, going for a walk, and more. Inside, I placed photos in chronological order to tell his story. My printer created quality prints that fit into the protective plastic sleeves that would survive sticky toddler fingers. At the party, he opened exciting gifts, like an electronic orange cat that rolled along the floor and changed direction when it bumped into something. When he opened my gift, he looked at it for about a half minute before moving on to the next gift.

Once the gifts where all opened, and the wrapping paper cleaned up, attention moved on to other things. Amid the celebrating, I spotted my friend sitting with the book and looking at each page. Her eyes drank in each cherished moment from Nathan’s first year. I had accomplished what I set out to do, but little did I know that the book would grow into much more than that.

Over the last year, it has turned into a one of the toddler’s favorites. It’s his story, and he likes it to be told as he points to himself and others. He can now say names, and sometimes tells the story in Nathanese. The little photo book has become an interactive baby book, and even though his mom hasn’t lost her pictures from this year, I’ve already started collecting photos and printing them to create volume two for his second birthday.

Photo credits: Personal photo used with permission

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Angelina Jolie’s Wedding Dress Included Colorful Drawings

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 by No Comments

Leave it to Angelina to come up with something completely different yet simple for her wedding dress.

From the front, the dress was ivory antique satin with a scoop neck, fitted bodice and a full sweeping skirt. It was a classic…from the front, but on the back and veil, the classic gown designed by Luigi Massi turned into a masterpiece with dozens of her children’s colorful drawing sewn into the gown and veil. The immortalized pieces of art included flowers, animals, and people.

“Luigi is like family to me and I couldn’t imagine anyone else making this dress. He knows and cares for the children and it was great fun putting it together.” — Jolie via People magazine

People also offers the scoop on the rest of the family what they wore and the roles they played. The couple’s six children acted as “wedding planners” for their famous parents. Sons Maddox (13) and Pax (10) walked mom down the aisle, Zahara (9) and Vivienne (6) served as flower girls, and Shiloh (8) and Knox (6) carried the rings.

But they did more than those typical type roles, they actually wrote the vows, and Pax who enjoys baking made the wedding cake!

Angelina Wedding Dress

Jolie accessorized her look with minimal jewelry with a simple pair of earrings and one ring on her right hand and Brad wore a suit already hanging in his closet and had to borrow a tie from his son because he forgot to pack one.

I love the family approach to this wedding and how they kept it simple.

So many times I think of all the money and resources put into a wedding that could be better used to help couples get a home or pay off debt so they have a clean slate to start life together. But how many people do you think would allow a child to make their wedding cake?

It’s one more example that shows that it’s the people who are special and make memories. All the trappings, for the most part, are soon forgotten.

Photo credits: Facebook, Facebook