Sunday, February 15, 2015

Houseplants That Are Good For Your Home

I love indoor plants. Not only are they good feng shui, some are also great for removing toxins etc from the air.

The website Care2, has a list of 20 plants that can help with everything from:

..reduc[ing] the chance of getting seasonal sicknesses (such as the common cold), remove airborne contaminants (volatile organic compounds [or VOCs]), reduce the chance of headaches, lift your mood, decrease your blood pressure, reduce allergies, improve sleep and much more. 
The 20 plants listed below are specifically known for their air purifying properties. And while an open window may feel like all the fresh air you need, did you know that everything from toilet paper to common household cleaners can contain chemicals and release toxins like formaldehyde? Or that VOCs like benzene can be released into the air by everything from the paint on your walls, to the printed material found in your home?

They include:

Gerber Daisy
Golden Pothos
Peace Lily
Spider Plant

More plants and information here.  The article also mentions what toxins each one helps eliminate.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"50 Acts of Giving Back" - Couple Takes Wedding Budget To Do Good Deeds

There are people in the world who choose to do good. Who choose to make a difference.  You might have to make sacrifices, but for those people it's well worth it.

Mark and Ismini Svensson decided rather than spend a ton of money on a traditional wedding, they would take that money and help others.  So for the past two years they have been traversing the country doing good deeds for strangers. One act for each state. They've called it 50 Acts of Giving Back.

"We were actually planning a big wedding reception and honeymoon," Ismini says. "We realized that our way of celebrating our love would be different, and we came up with 50 Acts of Giving Back."

Read their story here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Customers Gift Bruegger's Employee With A Car For Christmas

I am going to start sharing more good news videos this year. People doing good things for others. There is so much terrible news we are subjected to on a daily basis, I thought it would be nice.

I'll start with this one.  47-year-old Shirley Ratliff works at a Bruegger's Bagels in North Raleigh, N.C. She's worked there since 2006. She has never driven, though knows how to drive, and didn't have enough money to buy a car, so she has taken three buses every day to get to her job. And another three to get home.  She opens the shop at 5 a.m. so you can imagine at what hour she needs to get up to get there on time. She had been saving up for a car, but then was hit with cervical cancer a few years back, so there went her plans to purchase an auto.

Step in a bunch of customers, and Shirley now has a car. Nothing extravagant. An old car with 88,000 miles, but it's wheels.

A group of loyal customers – they call themselves “Shirley’s Fan Club” – gave Ratliff a 1992 Buick LeSabre on Monday. They said they wanted to show their appreciation for the countless bagels and cups of coffee she has served them over the years and to ease her burden a bit.

Ratliff, 47, has has been working at Bruegger’s since 2006. She had tried to save money for a car, but she was diagnosed with cervical cancer a few years ago and experienced a financial setback. She had insurance, but treatment was still expensive.

“I’ve never had a whole lot of money anyway, and every now and then something happens,” she said.

At Thanksgiving, she had to spend time in the hospital because of complications from diabetes.

“This is the best Christmas present ever,” Ratliff said to the group of about 20 people who gathered to present her with the car. “All my friends are here, and I see that now. I knew it before, but now I really know.”

The idea for the gift was spearheaded by David Burton, a local dentist and regular customer who managed to get it together in 2 days.. They also gave her a gasoline gift card, along with the bow-wrapped vehicle.

He bought the car for $1,500 from a co-worker Friday, then collected money from fellow customers over the weekend. They gave him more than enough to cover the cost of the vehicle.

“When I asked for people to contribute, they didn’t even blink,” Burton said.

Most of Ratliff’s customers knew about her daily bus journey. After her shift ends, she takes three buses to get home.

To avoid taking multiple buses, she walks a mile from Bruegger’s to Creedmoor Road. The longer route means she has to take a bus to downtown Raleigh, then get on another bus to go home, which is on Duraleigh and Edwards Mill roads.

Ratliff, is one of those people who just seems grateful to be alive.

“I just love people, and I’ve been here so long,” Ratliff said of her job. “It’s just like ‘Cheers.’ I’m so happy to be at work.”

On having to take the bus:

“I really didn’t mind riding the bus, I met a lot of people on the bus." “It never bothered me except when it rained or when it was really cold outside.” 
 And obviously has a wonderful effect on those she encounters daily, that make them willing to help out.
When she was getting treatment for her cancer, Ratliff said friends took care of getting her to and from UNC-Chapel Hill. They also made sure she got to WakeMed for surgery. On days with bad weather, some of the same customers who helped buy her car will drive her from Bruegger’s to the bus stop on Creedmoor Road.

Customer Craig Boyd said Ratliff is special to so many people who see her every day.

“She’s Shirley,” Boyd said. “She takes care of us and always has a smile.”
Good things happen to good people.  I might take a little time, but happy for Shirley.

Here's the video of Shirley's reaction to receiving her new car on December 22, 2014.

Source: News Observer

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Health and Diet Friendly Restaurants In London

For those of you living in London, or planning on visiting London, the has a list of 10 diet and health oriented restaurants, including some vegan, vegetarian, and veggie-friendly ones.

Wish I lived there, or was planning a visit.  Maybe some day.

You can find the list along with a description of the food here.

It includes:

Amico Bio
Bread Street Kitchen
Cassis Bistro
The River Cafe
SAF Kensington
Wright Brothers
Yalla Yalla
Yashin Sushi

Everything from Asian, to Lebanese, to Italian veggie.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hugs For Better Health

Hugs are wonderful. They make you feel warm and fuzzy and safe and loved, and a new research study has found that they may actually have the ability to boost the immune system, therefore helping prevent colds and viruses.

For the study, researchers at Carnegie Mellon surveyed 404 adults about their interpersonal relationships, including how frequently they gave and received hugs from people most important in their lives. The researchers followed the study subjects for 14 consecutive days.

Next, they intentionally exposed the study subjects to the common cold virus, quarantined them and monitored for symptoms of illness.

The researchers found that people who felt they had a higher level of social support were less likely to end up sick, and those who reported getting more hugs stayed healthiest of all. They also found this group had less severe symptoms when they did get sick than those who didn't give and receive as many hugs.

"The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy," said Sheldon Cohen, a professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and lead author on the study.
It also can help with heart and lung function, depression and fatigue.

The reason:

Scientists say hugs may act as a safeguard because they help trigger the body's production of oxytocin, a hormone that's linked to sexual function and people's ability to bond physically with loved ones. This is why oxytocin is often referred to as the "cuddle hormone." During physical contact levels of cortisol -- the stress hormone -- also drops.

But this isn't the first research done on the healing power of hugs. There was a research study back in 2006 regarding touch and hugging for the help with pain. And who can forget the amazing story published in the Worchester Telegram & Gazette in 1995, Life Magazine in 1996, and Reader's Digest in 1996, about the preemie twins Kyrie and Brielle Jackson.

One of the most moving examples of the healing power of touch is a story that made the rounds via email about Kyrie and Brielle Jackson, preemie twins (pictured above) born in 1995. In the neonatal intensive care unit at The Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, Kyrie (the larger of the 2, at 2 pounds 3 ounces) began to thrive, while her sister Brielle was not doing so well, with breathing and heart rate troubles. Then one day Brielle started gasping for breath, turned bluish-gray, and started hiccoughing (an indication that her little body was overly stressed). With her heart rate dangerously high, the nurse (Gayle Kasparian) tried everything to stabilize the baby, to no avail. Remembering an unorthodox treatment, rarely used in the U.S. but common in Europe, Kasparian decided to bed Brielle with her sister. As soon as she was placed in Kyrie's incubator, Brielle snuggled against her sister and immediately stabilized. Kyrie then placed her arm around Brielle, and we have the picture above. Both children are doing well.

And how touch and hugs helped transform Edie The Scared Dog.

So get out there and give someone a hug.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Naomi Feil and Gladys Wilson- Love and Kindness Awakens Alzheimer Patient

With all the violence and hatred in this world, the race baiting, the religious intolerance, the following touching video was such a breath of fresh air.

Naomi Feil is the founder of Validation Therapy, which is a method of dealing with disoriented older adults, usually with Alzheimer's.  

In the video, we see a breakthrough moment of communication with Gladys Wilson, a woman who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2000 and is virtually non-verbal. Learn more at
It's not so much about the therapy itself, but the fact that Naomi, a Jewish woman, reaches across the boundaries of race and religion to validate late stage Alzheimer's patient Gladys Wilson by singing some Christian songs, and what happens next is miraculous.

If we reached out to each other with this kind of love and tenderness, the world would be a much better place.

Get your Kleenex out.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Omega 3s Can Help With Anger Management

Here's a fascinating study they're doing in an Australian prison: The effect of Omega 3 Fatty Acids on anger management. Apparently, the more you ingest (either through food or supplements) the less violent you will be.  Should be interesting how this unfolds.

There are a myriad of benefits from taking Omega 3's, but who knew about anger.

It can help the following:

can lower elevated Triglycerides
can lower inflammation
rheumatoid arthritis (I take this for my R.A. and every time I have stopped taking it, the stiffness and achiness return)

Certainly worth a try.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

NYC Freedom Tower Being Built At Ground Zero- Time-Lapse Video

In honor of all those tragic lives lost on September 11, 2001, here's a time-lapse video of the Freedom Tower being built at Ground Zero.

God Bless them all.

Let us never forget!