Learning Fun Things About Tenerife

I have always had a fascination with Spain, ever since I was a young girl and my family went there for a summer holiday. Since that first trip, I had been there numerous times, but I did not move there until I was in my 30s. My husband accepted a work promotion that had us moving to Tenerife, which was perfectly fine with me. Though I had not been there before, I was able to find out a lot about it because of a Tenerife blog I had found online. I was able to look at some really great pictures and find out a lot about the new area that we would be living in.

Another great thing about this blog is that I was able to look at properties that were for sale. Continue reading “Learning Fun Things About Tenerife”

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5 Holiday Weight Loss Tips & Their Reality Checks

Do you find it almost impossible to stay conscious and contentious about weight and nutrition during the holidays? Of course you do. More than half of all Americans are overweight: You’re not alone.

A new government study might give you a ray of hope though: The study shows that Americans gain only about one pound over the holidays. The study found that people participating were influenced by two main factors over the holidays: The level of their hunger, and the level of their activity. In other words: Those who reported being less active or more hungry during the holidays had the greatest weight gain.

So common sense says: If you can stay focused on dealing with just those two things, you’ll probably win your personal holiday weight loss battle. At the very least, you’ll win by not adding more weight to what’s already waiting to be shed.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of weight gain,” says Dr. Samuel Klein, the Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. “Preventing the increase in weight is a lot easier and better than actually gaining weight and then trying to get it off again.”

So the answer seems simple: Eat less and exercise more. The reality of implementation of course, is far more difficult.

The good news is that most of the people overestimate how much weight they’d gained over the holidays. Fewer than 10% gain 5 pounds or more.

The bad news is: The small amount of weight gained is never lost. One pound of weight gain is quite a small amount, but since it’s not usually lost again: The weight adds up over time – to obesity.

Now we all know there are tons of tips out and about this time of year, designed to help us keep from putting on that extra pound or two during the holidays. Unfortunately what’s usually not talked about is: The reality of day-to-day holiday stress and situations. Let’s explore the tips… along with their reality checks… in depth:

Weight Loss Tip 1: Stay active. The best thing you can do is try to stick to your normal schedule and routine.

Holiday Reality Check: It’s pretty hard to have any kind of decent routine in the busy months of November and December. Busy people tend to sacrifice yoga classes, long walks, and visits to the gym because they need time for extra things like decorating the house, cooking, cleaning up before the visitors get there, and of course: Shopping.

The Good News: Walking around the shopping mall and stores is great exercise, and so is cleaning the house. In addition to those activities, decorating can be quite intensive too: You’re climbing up and down to hang things; lifting, lugging, and dragging boxes out of storage; bending, twisting and turning to get it all looking just right. So don’t beat yourself up about not making it to the gym… you’re getting plenty of activity and every little bit helps!

Weight Loss Tip 2: Don’t let yourself get too hungry. If you go to a party and you’re starving, everything will look even more scrumptious than normal. And of course, you’ll eat much more because of it. Try starting each day with a good, solid breakfast – particularly something with protein. And when you’re at the party, try munching on the veggies to help keep you feeling full. These two things will help your hunger stay under control, and will in turn help you refrain from “gorging” on anything you see just because you’re famished.

Holiday Reality Check: We’re all very busy during the holidays, and it’s not always possible to remember to eat – let alone eat well – particularly in the morning when we may have already overslept and are now running late for everything. And eating healthy at a party isn’t always possible either: Not everyone in this country serves vegetable plates, salads, or fruit bowls. Sometimes the only things in site are junk: Chips, candy, and cookies.

Here’s a suggestion: Try taking your own veggie plate to a party where you know there won’t be one available. A quick and easy way to do this is simply buy a bag or two of pre-cut veggies and some ranch salad dressing. Alternatively, eat a decent meal before you go to the party. Don’t overdo things, but don’t make it a light snack either. Eating first will help you to just “nibble” a bit on the worst of the holiday treats offered.

Weight Loss Tip 3: Stay away from the food. Literally. Just don’t go anywhere near the buffet table, appetizers, or treats… and you’ll be fine.

Holiday Reality Check: In most cases, the food is everywhere. And even if it’s not right in front of your face, you sure can smell it! Trying to just “stay away from it” is pretty unrealistic – and it can feel like torture for some of us. And for most people: When you can’t have something, you want it even more. So trying to stay away from the food will most likely just make you overindulge worse than you would have otherwise.

Try this instead: Allow yourself whatever you’d like. But with a catch. First: Take only half the amount you normally would. And take just one food item. Eat that and enjoy it without guilt. Then, wait a full 20-30 minutes before you get something else. Then repeat the process: One item, half the portion size as you normally would, enjoy it without guilt, then wait before getting something else.

Allowing yourself to eat gets rid of the mentality of “I can’t have it (and thus I’m more determined to have it)” It lets you enjoy the good food and the holidays, without beating yourself up. This is healthy and can help tremendously with the way you view food and eating in general. Only taking half of it though, will help you not take in as much calories, fat, sugar or other bad stuff you usually avoid. And then waiting 20-30 minutes before you get something else will help your body realize when it’s had enough… or too much. So you’re much less likely to overdo things, and feel horrible physically later.

Weight Loss Tip 4: Wear cloths that are slightly tight on you. This should help you feel full faster, and keep you from eating too much food.

Holiday Reality Check: We want to wear looser cloths because we’re looking forward to eating all that great food! Yes, wearing something tight might help us not go back for a second helping of potatoes… or it might ruin a favorite outfit.

In the end, how you approach this tip is up to you, and you alone. Make your decision and be happy with it.

Weight Loss Tip 5: Keep your portions small. Try to load up on salad and vegetables, and take just tiny amounts of anything else.

Holiday Reality Check: Taking just a “bite sized” amount of anything is going to put you into the have-not mental state mentioned earlier. You’ll feel as if you can’t have something, and you’ll want it all the more.

Try the tip noted above instead: Take half the size you normally would. Trying to have just a little bite of pie will whet your appetite for more, but having a whole piece is going a bit overboard – particularly if there’s 5 different pies for you to sample. So try actual sampling instead: Cut a piece half the normal size. This allows you to have a “whole slice”, and more than several little bites. Then wait about 20 minutes before you go and try the next pie. Even if you end up eating a bit of all 5 pies, by having a half-sized slice of each, you’ve drastically cut the amount of calories, carbs and sugars compared to what you would have had with whole slices. And you’ll still feel stuffed and satiated, instead of deprived and resentful.

So there you have it: 5 different, common holiday weight loss and eating tips, followed by the reality check of each, and a suggested compromise that should help you enjoy the holidays to their fullest, without depriving yourself of the great food we all look forward to.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to actually have Happy Holidays!

Thanksgiving Holiday Tips

Thanksgiving celebrations are usually centered around a table of wonderful food. There are always the traditional Thanksgiving dishes present and they are usually enjoyed by most of your guests. There are some guests, such as children, that may not list favorite Thanksgiving dishes on their best liked food list. For these guests, it is always wise to have some not so traditional items on your table. Along with the pumpkin and pecan pie, have a cherry, apple or chocolate pie available for your guests. Brownies also go over well, with children. Some Jell-O served beside your ambrosia dish is a good choice to add to the menu.

Have ice cream and whipped cream available for use over pies and with cakes. That adds a touch of sweet creativeness to your meal. Have some hot chocolate, ginger ale and bottled water ready to serve as alternatives for tea or coke. Some hot apple cider served can be an unique and crowd pleasing experience. With the traditional turkey or ham, have some baked chicken available, also. Sausage balls are great to serve at holiday gatherings. Along with the dressing, serve some plain white rice and baked potatoes. You can also serve a tossed salad. For those who do not want to eat rich or high fat foods, have some low fat butter, sour cream and salad dressings available. Here is another great tip. I recommend having a bag of chipped ice on hand, so you do not run out. Guests can get quite thirsty.

Another great holiday tip is to dress your table up with a colorful Thanksgiving theme table cloth. Your food will look wonderful with this holiday presentation.

For extra entertainment, you can have some traditional holiday favorite movies on hand to show your guests. In another room, you can have some holiday music playing and let this area be a conversation room. If you have some trivia games or other board games, these can be enjoyed by your guests and their children. This will help everyone to have fun.

Always have some aspirin, Tylenol, indigestion medicine, band aids and rubbing alcohol on hand, for emergency needs.

Let your guests know, as they arrive, where your bathroom is located and where the trash area is, if they are not familiar with your house. That will make them more comfortable.

Always secure any animals or pets that may cause a problem for your guests.

Be sure to child proof your home, before the guests arrive. This means securing any medicines, weapons, sharp items, tools, gasoline, matches, lighters and cigarettes.

It is also a good idea to lock your vehicles and secure any keys you may have around.

These tips will ensure that you have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday Tips For Bird Safety – 5 Ways to Keep Your Bird Safe During the Holidays

Keeping your bird safe is a lifelong commitment that probably will need a little extra attention with the arrival of the holidays. Here are 5 things to do to make sure your bird has a safe and happy holiday with you and your family.

Keep the Routine Normal

Try to keep your bird’s routine as close to normal as possible by maintaining feeding, cage cleaning, hygiene rountine, and its interaction with your family the same. Keeping the bird’s schedule low-key and on track will prevent anxiety in your bird which can sometimes lead to health issues signaled by symptoms such as feather plucking, aggression, shrieking, loss of appetite, and change in elimination habits.

Provide Adequate Darkness

Birds need between 10 and 12 hours of darkness each day to stay healthy. Even though you may stay up late at night, and get up early in the morning more frequently as the holidays approach, your bird still needs its beauty rest. Use a cage cover to insure your bird gets enough down time to stay healthy.

Prevent All Contact with Decorations

A decorated tree is probably the first place a bird will fly. This is to be avoided as the wires could cause the bird to be hung if he is unable to untangle himself, and many of the ornamental decorations used on the tree that might usually be a part of the bird’s diet in the wild are made from substances that are toxic if ingested.

Cage Your Bird during Parties

Having your bird in its cage during holiday parties is the safest place it can be. This will prevent your bird from encountering dangerous situations such as drowning in a punch bowl, being burned by a hot coffee urn or eating people food that is likely to be on the table and is known to be fatal to birds such as chocolate, alcoholic beverages, sweet, and salty snacks to name a few.

Use an Air Purifier to Avoid Respiratory Problems

Birds have very delicate respiratory systems which are easily overtaxed with perfumes, scented candles, odors from the kitchen and overheating of pots and pans (particularly Teflon) at any time during the year. Using an air purifier to keep indoor air quality high is a good idea throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. Be alert about the number of odors that are introduced into your home and keep the exposure to an absolute minimum to avoid respiratory complications in your bird and worse. Using a purifier to filter your bird’s air will insure that your bird, and you are breathing the cleanest air possible.

Buying Cheap, Discounted Airline Tickets and Vacation Packages Online

I love buying airline tickets and vacation packages on line for two reasons. Convenience and price. Convenience because I can look and then purchase them on my own time and then can spend less time in lines at the airport. With an e-ticket, purchased on line I can check my baggage at a kiosk or at curbside (for a small price) and then proceed directly to the gate, no waiting for my boarding pass. And I like getting the best price I can. But I had to learn a few things about how to get the best price first.

When is the best time to buy the cheapest airline ticket? Buy early; the best prices may be 21 days or more prior to your travel day. The fares will generally increase after that. The highest prices are fourteen days prior to travel. Buy late; sometimes you can purchase tickets for the following weekend at cheap rate if the plane has empty seats. But you may have to return on Monday or Tuesday.

What is the best day to buy the cheapest airline ticket? Most airlines release the new prices on Wednesday, so the best time to look is between midnight on Tuesday and early Wednesday am.

When is the best time of year to travel? The highest rates are June, July and around the holidays, although sometimes a good price can be obtained for the actual holiday itself. Most people do not want to fly on Christmas or Thanksgiving. The lowest price trends tend to be mid January to mid February, April to May, and mid September to mid October.

Where should I fly to and from? Flying through an airline hub may get you a lower price on that airline. For example Southwest has a hub in Phoenix, so check for lower rates there, and American has a hub in Minneapolis, so check for lower rates with them there. Try an alternative airport. Often arriving at a smaller airport just a few hours away can save you a lot of money. Balance the price of a rental car or travel time to see if is worth it to you. Often it is.

What should I purchase? Combining airline tickets, hotel and car rental can decrease the price of your plane ticket. Look at purchasing the whole package from one place to save money.

I think if you use these tips for looking for and purchasing your airline ticket and vacation package on line you will love it as much as I do. Give it a try!

Guide To Tipping A Nail Technician Or Related Service Professional

Graduates of beauty schools go on to work in salons or spas, providing customers with hair, nail, skin, and massage services. As is done with restaurant service providers, it is commonplace to tip a hairstylist and nail technician after services are rendered. Some people are not aware of this and still others are unsure of how much the tip should be. Learning more about the rules will ensure a satisfactory result of the transaction, from the perspective of both parties.

To avoid tipping insufficiently or being too generous, adhere to general tipping guidelines. These serve as yardsticks to measure whether the tip is appropriate but should not be considered hard and fast rules. Consumers are free to adjust their tips based on levels of service and relationship with the service provider. When traveling outside of the U.S., individuals should consult a travel guide to learn about tipping practices within other countries.

A hair stylist should generally receive a tip that equals 15 to 20 percent of the bill. Colorists receive a separate tip, also 15 to 20 percent of their bill. If the colorist is a miracle worker, leave a more generous tip in order to thank the person for the great results. When a stylist dries and styles hair after the colorist is finished, this person should receive a tip, and be generous because the stylist charges are usually reduced following coloring.

Shampoo technicians should receive a one or two dollar tip. If the nails are done, the appropriate tip for a nail technician is 15 to 20 percent of his or her total bill. Feel free to leave a higher tip if intricate artwork is performed on the nail. These folks have likely attended the top beauty schools and are experts. They can turn a plain nail into a work of art for occasions like holidays or special events.

When heading to the spa, be prepared to tip the massage therapist ten to 20 percent for each massage. Aestheticians should receive a tip of ten to 20 percent for each service rendered. When getting services at a salon located within the spa, tip the stylist, colorist, shampoo tech, and nail technician according to the guidelines above for a stand-alone salon. Following these tipping guidelines will ensure the highest quality of service during subsequent visits. These practices pave the way for a great relationship to develop between the client and service provider.

Best Tips for Traveling Alone in a Car Trip

If you must travel alone in a car, here are a few things you need to know and be aware of to help you survive the trip. You can make the trip as pleasurable or as adventurous as you want. Always set a timetable for departure and arriving and try to stick to it. Make allowances for emergencies or problems.

Before you take the trip include the following tips in your plans:

1. Prepare your mind – avoid stress of any kind before getting on the road

2. Prepare your body – make sure you get a good night of sleep and rest

3. Prepare your car – have your car tuned up, oil changed, brakes checked, tire rotated and in good condition, extra fluids in the car (oil, brake, transmission, windshield, antifreeze, etc.) and make sure your windshield wipers and lights are working properly

4. Plan your route – find out the nearest hospitals, hotels, rest stops and restaurants

5. Let someone know your route and check in with that person at designated times to be safe

6. Have your cell phone charged and available for emergency calls.

7. Take along a map or GPS and have it handy or ready in the event you get lost or need directions.

8. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to drive in

9. Travel with suitcases or bags in trunk of car for safety reasons

10. Try to map out or organize your route (beware of road construction and detours)

11. Have a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in the event your credit or debit card does not work

While traveling during the trip follow these tips:

1. Try to travel during the day. At night is too risky, especially if the car breaks down.

2. Make frequent or regular stops to break the monotony of driving.

3. If you feel tired or sleepy pull over at the nearest safe place and stop or get a hotel room to spend the night and wake up refreshed.

4. Take along a snack (gum or candy) if it doesn’t make you sleepy

5. Listening to the radio or music is usually good for some people

6. You may want to drive with windows down a little to get fresh air

7. If at all possible do not sleep in the car alone

8. Wear a pair of shades if the sun is too much of a strain on your eyes

After reaching your destination follow these tips:

1. Take a nice hot shower and rest or get some sleep

2. You may want to eat a nice meal after resting

By following these tips your trip alone should be much easier and stress-free. Rather business or pleasure driving alone can be a memorable experience.

Holiday Gift Buying Tips

With the holiday just around the corner, it’s now time to think about buying gifts for mom. Most often we always buy gifts that we purchase each year for our moms. Sooner or later the appeal of these gifts wear off, make it a point to choose a different set of gifts this year. Try shopping for holiday gifts online this time.

Instead of giving the same old gifts to your mother you should try to inject new energy and fresh vibes into the gifts you buy this holiday season. Below you will find a few fresh holiday gift ideas. Remember, these ideas are just guidelines so feel free to improvise whenever necessary to fit the needs of the mother in your life or your budget.

Idea no. 1: If you are buying your wife or mother a gift, buy them gold jewelry this holiday season. Jewelry is something that women always need, and stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Idea no. 2: When buying mother’s jewelry always make sure that you purchase from an online jewelry store that only sells jewelry for moms. These stores usually have jewelry that they know that moms really love.

Idea no. 3: When choosing a special gift for mom, make it a diamond gold ring this year. Diamonds are a woman’s all time favorite as women love gold rings with diamonds.

Idea no. 4: Clothes and shoes are something everybody gives and everybody gets, if you want to make a difference this year, buy your mom a gold pendant. A good pendant along with a gold chain is a stellar gift.

Idea no. 5: The simplest gifts for mom can even be a bouquet of roses. Women love flowers and specially roses. This is the cheapest yet most effective gift that you can give your mom.

Idea no. 6: If your mother doesn’t like jewelry with a lot of flash then remember to purchase a holiday gift that is simple. A simple gold ring with your mom’s name engraved will stay on her hand forever.

Buying gifts for the holiday season is not easy, especially if you are buying gifts for a person so close as your own mother. Gifts for mom need to be simple, and communicate the feeling of love for her. Moms want to be loved and your gifts should only be used as a means of showing your love for her and making her feel loved.

Cancun Weather – Best and Worst Months to Go

Cancun weather is one reason why this Mexican resort enclave is the second most popular vacation destination in the Caribbean region.

Other reasons why Cancun draws so many tourists include its hotel, shopping and restaurant strip; the inexpensive bus transportation system; plenty of things to do; and convenient access to and from U.S. airports. It is 1.5 hours flight time from Miami and four hours from Chicago.

The best time to go to Cancun depends in part on whether you prefer to spend a lot of time on the beach and in the water, or if you like to spend most of your time shopping, dining and visiting the various attractions in the region. Some fabulous Mayan ruins are located nearby.

Cancun weather is generally warm throughout the year — in fact many hotels and resorts have open air lobbies — but offshore breezes can make the air and water more chilly in winter months.

Average Temperatures

The average year-round high temperature for this resort destination is nearly 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low temperature is just less than 74 degrees, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Cancun weather in May through September is the warmest time to visit when the average high temperature exceeds 90 degrees each month — peaking at 92.5 in August.

Cancun weather in December, January and February is coolest when the average high temperatures are about 83 degrees.

The average low drops below 70 degrees in January and February, and barely breaks 70 in December.

Average Rainfall

The average rainfall is 4.4 inches per month and the average number of rain days per month is 9.6.

The rainfall and rain days are about average for a Caribbean destination.

February, March and April are the driest months when it rains less than 1.8 inches a month. It also rains only five days a month during that time.

Total rainfall increases in June, drops in July and climbs during the most active hurricane season months of September and October, when it rains nearly nine inches per month.

November also has a higher than average amount of rain.

Best Times to Go

Vacationers will find that the best time to go to Cancun is February through May, while they should avoid it in September and especially in October.

However, be aware that water temperatures in February and March are chilly and not comfortable for swimming for any great length of time.

Six Tips For Enjoying the Holidays Stress Free

Life in and of itself can prove to be very stressful at times,however, more often than not the holiday season can stir up quite a lot of stress. For most of us, the holidays includes too much time fighting traffic, spending way too much on our credit cards, entertaining relatives and pretending to be thrilled when we receive yet another George Foreman grill. It’s no wonder that in an effort to pull off the perfect Disney holiday you might find yourself facing an overwhelming array of chores, shopping, baking, cleaning, etc. and you have to manage to get it all done either on your days off or after work. This year, you can make it a point to enjoy the holidays more by simplifying some of the work, while maintaining what makes the holidays special: The Love and fellowship with friends and loved ones. Here are some tips to help you cope with, or even avoid holiday stress:

ASK HELP FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS Putting up a Christmas tree and other decorations can be exhausting. Asking family and friends to help is one of the best ways to save energy and have a beautifully decorated home for the holidays. If everybody in your family gets along, consider yourself blessed. But if your family is full of friction, the holidays can become very unpleasant. You can clear the atmosphere by involving everyone in the planning and decision making. Make it a party. Serve food and refreshments and have fun.

GO EASY ON ALCOHOL A stiff glass of eggnog can be a good way to toast the holiday, but don’t go overboard. Too much alcohol will only add to your stress.

KNOW YOUR SPENDING LIMIT Much of the stress of the holiday season comes from feeling pressured to buy bigger and better gifts for those we love, even if this puts us in debt. If you are a Grandparent like I am, this can be an especially challenging temptation. Expensive gifts won’t guarantee a happy holiday. Even children will be grateful for moderately priced gifts that are chosen with care.

START YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING EARLY People sometimes postpone holiday shopping until the last minute, but shopping early you can avoid the stress of dealing with crowded stores and parking lots, traffic jams,cold, snowy weather,etc.

DO YOUR SHOPPING ONLINE Shopping for gifts online is an ideal way to buy gifts for friends and family. You can check your list and see how many gifts you can purchase at the same online gift store, and try to get all of your shopping done at once. Many gift store websites offer great sales and discounts, especially during the holiday season. Don’t stress yourself out wondering what gift to get for someone who has everything. You can purchase Gift Cards in different denominations, place them in a Christmas greeting card and you have the perfect gift for people of all ages.Save money, save on gas, and shop from the comfort of your home.

KEEP MOVING Exercise is always a great stress reliever. Instead of watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the 100th time, grab your favorite cousin and go for a brisk walk.It will improve your heart health and it’s a great way to shed those extra calories from eating too much of Aunt Mary’s German chocolate cake.

I hope this holiday season finds you happy, healthy, calm and peaceful. Give these tips a try, and I guarantee you’ll have less stress and more fun!!

Happy Holidays!!

5 Healthy Eating Tips For December

Follow these simple tips and get the healthy eating habit in the run up to Christmas.

  1. Cut down on sugar

    Tired all the time? Easy prey for every bug that’s going? Beat winter health downturn by cutting back on sugary foods, which make white blood cells less able to combat nasties. Up your intake of fresh fruit and veg to keep immunity high.

  2. Keep temptations hidden

    It’s a good idea to stock up slowly on festive goodies and spread the cost – but be sure to hide them away – well away – where you won’t be tempted before the holiday. Don’t make your careful shopping habits an excuse to turn Christmas into a month-long binge of unhealthy eating.

  3. Eat more fresh vegetables

    Serve a large mixed salad as an appetiser before the main course to take the edge of hunger and give you a valuable serving of fresh veg.

  4. Plan to eat healthily

    Keep up the exercise even though the weather is colder. Wrap up warm, and walk briskly, every day. You’re bound to be hungry when you return, so before you leave, set out a healthy snack – put soup in a pan, get wholemeal bread into the toaster ready to go, or fill a small bowl with dried fruits and nuts. Make healthy eating easy, and you won’t be tempted to reach for the cookies.

  5. Reduce consumption of booze

    Cut back on alcohol in the run up to the holiday season. When you feel like a drink, wait for a while before you begin on the alcohol, and instead pour a fruit juice or tomato juice into an attractive glass, add ice, lemon and sip slowly. It soon becomes an easy, alcohol-reducing habit.