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Tips for Surviving Holiday Parties without Weight Gain

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 9th December 2014

When you’re watching your weight, or just trying to be healthy, holiday parties can be a challenge. And, they seem to multiply every year. There’s your office party, your neighbors’ parties, your kids’ parties at school, and of course, your own family gatherings.

If visions of yule log cakes, cookies, and cheese balls have you panicked, take heart. You don’t have to forgo healthy eating this season. And you don’t have to skip out on all the merriment. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and avoid weight gain from all those holiday parties.

  • Eat Breakfast. When you start your day off with a healthy, nutritious, and satisfying meal, you’re more likely to continue to make healthy food choices throughout the day. The morning of a holiday party, start your day with a morning meal that includes healthy protein, like eggs or low-fat yogurt, lean meat, and fruit.
  • Keep Moving. The holiday season is busy. If you don’t have time to go to the gym or do your regular workout, look for ways you can incorporate physical activity into your day. Take your dog for a walk, have a dance party with your kids or grandkids, or anything else that gets your heart pumping.
  • Bring Your Own Healthy Dish. If you’re attending a potluck, offer to bring a healthy main course or side dish. That way, you’re guaranteed to have a lighter, healthier option to eat.
  • Use Small Plates. When making a plate at a party, choose the smallest plate available. Smaller plates help keep your portions in control, as they limit the amount of space you can fill.
  • Load up on the Veggies. Once you’ve grabbed your small plate, head over to the vegetables. Fill half your plate with raw veggies. Raw vegetables are best because you know they haven’t been cooked in, or covered with, calorie-filled sauces. If you want to add a some flavor, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over your veggies.
  • Make Sure Your Plate is Colorful. Once your plate is filled take a look down. You should have a variety of colors represented. A plate of brightly-colored foods is often a sign that you’ve made wise choices. Just be sure those colors are not coming from candies and sweets!
  • Have a Nibble of Chocolate. That’s right… chocolate. Dark chocolate has been shown to promote satiety, so you feel fuller longer. Having a little nibble of the dark variety can also help to satisfy your sweet tooth, so you don’t overindulge at the dessert table. Note that milk chocolate does not provide the same health benefits. Look for dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa.
  • Socialize and circulate. If you’ve finished eating, keep yourself busy talking to family and friends, away from the table of food, so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds or thirds. Parties aren’t just about the food. Use this time to get to know someone new, or catch up with an old friend.

This article is written by  + Stu Lieberman the writer for Nutri-Health.com, an online High Quality Health Supplements such as PQQ.  Assisting people and helping them find quality natural health supplements online is what Stu has been doing for over 3 years.  Nutri-Health.com carries Digestive Supplements to Probiotics to Joint Health.

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Sun Trust Holiday Means

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 25th November 2014

To help people better manage holiday spending and avoid stress, SunTrust is offering tips, tools and advice on a website called holidaymeans.com.

Resources include a downloadable budgetworksheet to track spending; planning guide with steps to achieve a stress-free holiday; ideas for creating holiday memories; inspirational videos; and posts from guest bloggers that offer advice for a meaningful holiday.

“Holidays should be less financially stressful and more meaningful,” said Rilla Delorier, consumer channels executive at SunTrust Bank. “Our purpose at SunTrust is to help people achieve financial well-being, and that’s especially hard to do this time of year. Through holidaymeans.com, we’re showing people how they can think differently, spend thoughtfully and take specific steps to stay in financial control.”

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The Ultimate Black Friday Guide

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 25th November 2014

Thanks to the folks at GOBankingRates.com for this comprehensive list of store openings, best buys, and shopping tips for Black Friday. They sure know when to hold em and when to fold them. Check them out to find the hottest deals, why some items are better priced after Black Friday, and how Black Friday came into existence. And most importantly, don’t just wait for Friday. Many stores and websites are starting their deals early.

With GOBankingRates.com doing all the work, the Frugal Diva gets to sleep late, take in the free FIDM museum downtown, grab a bite at the Grand Central market, and start planning for Cyber Monday.

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Don’t Fall for It!

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 21st November 2014

The folks at SingleHop provided some expert advice  to help spread the word about how people can keep themselves, their families and their information safe online.

To help you, they have put together some useful information.

Hacking methods

Online scams: Scam attempts have gotten way more sophisticated than the stereotypical Nigerian Prince trick. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ic3.gov) lists dozens of variations on email and online scams – from fraudulent automobile auctions to online dating schemes – in its annual Internet Crime Report. In 2013 alone, more than a quarter of a million complaints were submitted related to online scams. And if you think it only happens to older people, think again: One fifth of scam victims last year were younger than 30.

Phishing: One particularly nefarious form of online scam uses legitimate-looking websites to trick a victim into sharing their username, password, or other sensitive information. Phishers will design their sites to look exactly like the website of your bank, credit card issuer, or another financial institution. The hope is that you won’t realize you’re on the wrong site, and just punch in your password like you normally would. Then, they use it to log into your real accounts and transfer out your money.

Massive data breaches: The above methods are all aimed at getting information about individuals. However, there’s a whole profusion of hackers who are looking for the big score. Recent hacks of Home Depot, Target, and other major retailers have led to millions of credit card numbers being compromised. Hackers turn around and sell these numbers on a black market website for anyone who might be willing to buy them.

Staying Protected

Vigilance: Look carefully at a website before giving any information, especially sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Especially look out for slightly misspelled words or words that use unexpected characters, such as substituting a “0” (number) for an “O” (letter) – for example, H0ME DEP0T. If something looks even a little bit fishy, delete the email or close the site immediately.

Browser bookmarks: Rather than clicking on links in emails, create bookmarks in your browser to commonly used sites, like your bank, insurance company, etc., and use those bookmarks every time you visit the site. That way, you know you’re always going to the right website, rather than trusting in an email that could’ve been sent by anyone.

Two-factor authentication: More and more sites (especially those of financial institutions) are using two-factor authentication. With such methods, after logging in with your password, the site will text or email you a single-use code that must be entered. Only the registered phone number or email address will receive the code, making it that much harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

Protected servers: Consumers may not have direct control over how companies store their information, but with larger and larger hacks occurring regularly, you have a right to demand that companies take more responsibility for securing your personal information. For example, SingleHop embeds security features into their dedicated servers at the physical access level all the way down to the network, server, application, and account levels. Close monitoring along with antivirus protection, application patching, private networking, and firewalls all work to ensure that company data is protected and isolated.

Thank you Single Hop!

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Halloween Fun In LA For The Kids

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th October 2014

Start Halloween early with free and low cost fun for the kids!

Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College
Returns in 2014 for its 10th year, featuring a live stage show inside of a pumpkin patch, where you pick a pumpkin after the show. The event includes a maze, a haunted trail and a haunted house.
Location: Woodland Hills
Admission: Ticketed
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: Various dates from September 26 through November 2

Dia de Los Muertos at El Pueblo (near Union Station)
A 9-day annual celebration, culminating with a 2-day festival. The event includes Aztec dancers, street performers, mariachi bands, children’s activities and more. El Pueblo is adjacent to Olvera Street where you can shop and eat lunch or dinner. There is a procession and blessings each night.
Location: Downtown L.A.
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: October 25 to November 2

Grand Park Dia de Los Muertos Concert
Bands, altars, food trucks, face-painting and more
Location: Downtown L.A.
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: November 1

Santa Monica Dia de Los Muertos
An opening procession led by Ketzaliztli dancers, a workshop to create offerings of marigold coronitas (crowns) and papel picado (perforated paper) for loved ones who have passed, self -guided tours of the cemetery that explore the history of local famous people and more.
Location: Santa Monica
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: November 1

Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration
Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration Trick-or-Treating (oct 31); Halloween Movie Screening of Mad Monster Party (Oct 31)
Location: Pasadena
Admission: Free
For Kids: Yes
2014 Dates: October 31

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American Apparel Big Sale

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 28th October 2014

Why wait for Black Friday when you can have clothing in any color at American Apparel during their Halloween Sale!

While teens are the target market, there are plentiful items for kids that include organic cotton clothes and fun hair accessories. Even if they are mocked on Sex and the City, a scrunchie keeps hair out of your eyes and off your neck while working out. Check out a store near you.

This clothing at great prices is manufactured right here in downtown Los Angeles employing 5000 workers. The ads are not my favorites however let’s support this local business and their efforts at not only manufacturing in the USA but keeping it sustainable, donating to local schools, giving their employees ESL classes, access to health care, benefits, and encouraging workers to bike or bus to work.

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Healthy Halloween Treats

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 27th October 2014

What a great opportunity to eat candy and go on a week long sugar high. However The Frugal Diva is going to step in and offer you some healthy options.

Check out Eat Well for great party recipes and treats that have a bit less sugar and a bit more nutrition.

Lindsay Olives has gone overboard on their Pinterest Page with cute ideas for scary snacks.

The Food Network always come through with party ideas and yummy recipes.

Have fun and post some pictures on my Facebook page in your costumes!

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Pulling the Blinds on Sleepy Misperceptions

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 26th October 2014

Frugal Divas need their beauty sleep and the folks at Vitacost help us out with this great post.

Sleep is an interesting paradox. Some people treasure their nightly eight hours, while others treat it like a guilty pleasure, enjoyed only in small “dozes.” As sleep deprivation becomes the norm, it’s rationalized by notions like, “I’ll sleep in tomorrow to catch up.” It’s time to quit dreaming and open your eyes to the importance of a good night’s sleep.

The Dream: “I’m out like a light.”

Reality: Ironically, the body is not completely inactive during sleep. It’s true that muscles in the limbs become temporarily paralyzed; but eyelids are jerking rapidly, heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow. You may feel “dead to the world” or “out like a light,” but your brain technically is still turned on.

The Dream: “I can catch up on sleep this weekend.”

Reality: The body needs adequate, consistent rest in order to maintain a healthy immune system. Sleep is not like a savings account – you can’t add more when you have time. Sleeping until 2 p.m. on Sunday throws the balance of your circadian rhythm (internal clock), which throws off your mental and physical fitness. Stop running on the hamster wheel and start a routine of balanced sleep, healthy eating and regular exercise.

The Dream: “My body can adjust to sleeping during the day.”

Reality: A grave-shift worker may be able to coax his body to adjust, but his brain knows best. At night, the eyes send a signal to the brain that there is less light, and the internal clock will produce more melatonin to induce sleepiness. Sleeping after sunrise does not generate enough melatonin, making it difficult to fall asleep – and stay asleep.

The Dream: “I function better on less sleep.”

Reality: Sleep deprivation negatively affects the areas of the brain associated with motivation and desire. A sleep-deprived brain will seek food as a reward, because food is the most accessible treat, leading to weight gain. Lack of sleep has also been linked to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

The Dream: “I never dream.”

Reality: We sleep in stages: stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the fifth stage is rapid eye movement (REM). The brain cycles through these five stages over and over throughout the night, with REM being the deep sleep and dreams stage. Any time the brain reaches REM, you dream – if you don’t remember them, then that’s your own reality.

This article has been provided by the folks at Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com has been selling discount vitamins and supplements since 1994. Since then it’s grown into one of the biggest online marketplaces for healthy living essentials-with vitamins and supplements being just one of their many helpful categories! Get the best price on vitamins, probiotics, nutritional supplements, whole foods and diet products. Vitacost.com’s customers mean the world to them, and it’s their goal to provide you with the best nutritional supplements, natural foods and sports nutrition to help with your health and wellness. Please check out the Vitacost Coupons page for great deals and discounts. Vitacost.com is not affiliated with this blog, and isn’t responsible for content outside of this article.

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Free Shipping and More

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 20th October 2014

Sure we all love free so try out this 30 day free trial. If you do all your shopping online this site just might be the answer for you.

FreeShipping.com gives 10% cash back on all purchases at a massive network of over 1,000 major retailers including Victoria’s Secret, Kohls, Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Sephora, DSW, Sears, and many, many more. Freeshipping.com is a subscription based online shopping portal that was founded back in 2002. Unlike Ebates, which gives you a different amount of cash back depending on the retailer, FreeShipping.com gives shoppers a consistent 10% back at every retailer, along with stackable coupons, free shipping and return shipping, and price protection.

With FreeShipping.com’s portal, shoppers can go directly to a partner retailer’s website to make a purchase, or they can search through over 100 million SKUs to find the very best price for an individual item at any of the retailers on the network. No matter how they shop, subscribers receive significant savings through their FreeShipping.com membership, including 10% cash back on all purchases.

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Free Days At The National Parks

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 24th September 2014

When The Frugal Dude suggested going to Yosemite, The Frugal Diva replied that it was just a bunch of trees.  I could not have been more incorrect. The magnificent vistas, the fresh air, the beautiful meadows of wild flowers, and spectacular waterfalls made me realize that there was a whole world that awaited outside of urban areas. And the other good news, it did not involve any camping. I also believed that you had to pitch a tent and gather berries for sustenance.  Many National Parks have food and accommodations that are reasonable and don’t involve building your own fire. Of course for those who enjoy sleeping in the great outdoors there are numerous camp sites.

feb_22_08-1042Just to make this more fun, these are the 2014 dates when entrance fees are waived.

January 20

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 15-17

Presidents Day weekend

April 19-20

opening weekend of National Park Week

August 25

National Park Service Birthday

September 27

National Public Lands Day

November 11

Veterans Day

Many of your 392 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee. So start planning your visit!

And if you are over 62 get a Senior Pass for a one time $10 fee.  This is for a lifetime of free admissions.  The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free).

If you plan to visit several national parks in one year, consider the $80 one year pass.

The Frugal Dude was right, the national parks are a fabulous vacation and we have since been to the Grand Tetons, Glacier, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon (the north and south rims), Bryce, Zion and many others.  It is a great reminder what a vast and beautiful country we live in.

Let me know your favorites!

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